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Poll: ERC could surpass Socialists in new Catalan election to widen pro-independence majority

Survey conducted during government deal uncertainty sees far-left outperforming far-right and former largest party Cs disappear

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28 May 2021 01:43 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The prospect of a repeated election, which for months haunted Catalan politics, recently vanished with the appointment of Pere Aragonès as Catalan president and the formation of a renewed coalition cabinet involving the two largest pro-independence parties.

But what would have happened if Esquerra Republicana and Junts per Catalunya had ultimately failed to seal a government deal, forcing the dissolution of parliament and requiring a new election?

A poll conducted by Catalonia’s public pollster CEO from the 11th to the 19th of May, a time period that saw negotiations go from a deadlock to a government agreement, suggests that the pro-independence bloc might have come out even stronger after a repeated vote.

Esquerra Republicana would likely improve its latest results, going from the 33 seats gained in the February 14 election to 36-37. The party of president Aragonès would thus surpass the Socialists, which also got 33 MPs but won the most votes, to become the single largest party in the chamber.

The Socialists could increase their number of lawmakers to 34-35, but they would continue to fall short of a majority to lead a unionist alternative to the current government.

The poll suggests Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) would lose support, falling from 32 to 28-29 seats, but ever since its creation by former president Carles Puigdemont following the 2017 independence push, the party has repeatedly made big gains during election campaigns, despite unfavorable polling.

Far-left CUP, which provided crucial votes to appoint Aragonès but declined joining the pro-independence cabinet, could go from 9 seats to a party record of 11-12 MPs, which would position it as the fourth largest party in the chamber, surpassing the far-right VOX.

Alternatively, VOX could lose some of the 11 seats gained last February and fall to 7-8, suggesting that the party’s increased visibility after entering the Catalan parliament for the first time will not necessarily translate into more popularity.

En Comú Podem, the Catalan branch of the party ruling the Spanish government with the Socialists, is expected to keep its 8 seats, or even gain another one.

Ciutadans, the anti-independence champion that went from being the largest party in parliament with 36 seats to maintaining only 6 MPs last February, could worsen its deep political crisis and completely vanish from parliament, gaining no seats at all.

The conservative People’s Party could benefit from Ciutadans’ collapse, increasing their number of seats from 3 to 6-7.

No to independence widens margin

While the latest CEO poll suggests that pro-independence parties could continue to widen their parliamentary majority from 74 to 75-78 seats, the same survey, having interviewed 1,200 people, shows that more people reject independence (48.7%) than support it (44.9%).

Asked about whether "Catalans have the right to decide their future as a country by voting in a referendum", a possibility that Spanish governments have repeatedly rejected over the years, 75.1% of people say they are "in favor" or "very much in favor," and only 18.7% say that they are not.

In line with Catalan’s unfavorable view of the Spanish crown and king Felipe VI, 72.3% of people are in favor of a republic, and only 15.1% would like to keep the monarchy.

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  • Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, speaking with the leader of the Socialists in Catalonia, Salvador Illa (by Job Vermeulen)

  • Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, speaking with the leader of the Socialists in Catalonia, Salvador Illa (by Job Vermeulen)

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