Socialists would surpass governing pro-independence Esquerra in election, says CEO poll

Ruling party would come in second followed by opposition Junts

Catalan parliament votes against opposition's full amendments to 2023 budget
Catalan parliament votes against opposition's full amendments to 2023 budget / Natàlia Segura
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Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

April 5, 2023 11:18 AM

April 5, 2023 12:06 PM

The Socialist party would surpass governing Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) if a new election were to occur this Sunday,  thereby putting the current pro-independence majority in the chamber at risk.

The latest CEO poll, the Catalan-government-owned survey agency, estimates that the parties that favor a split with Spain would get between 59 and 74 seats, with 68 needed for a majority. These are two more seats than those in the November 2022 poll.

Pro-independence groups have together been in control of the parliament for a decade now, with 74 MPs between them at the moment. 

The poll, published on Wednesday, sees the Socialists extend their lead, becoming clearly the first party at 34-40 seats. In the February 2021 vote, they came first with 33 representatives, tied with Esquerra, but with more votes. But in November, the poll estimated they would get 35-41 seats.

If accurate, the Socialists would be getting close to the 42 seats they won in the 2003 election. At the time, it was enough for them to take control of the Catalan government and the presidency for the first time ever.

Esquerra, the political force that has been alone in a minority government since October, would come in second again with roughly the same number of seats as it has now (29-34).

Also pro-independence Junts, the former junior partner of a coalition with Esquerra, could get 22 to 28 seats, up to 10 less than they currently have. In November, the party, once led by exiled former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont was expected to get 19-24 MPs.

Recently, current Junts president Laura Borràs was sentenced to 4.5 years behind bars for helping a friend get public contracts.

Another major shift would be seen among the unionist right. Far-right Vox made a breakthrough in 2021 with 11 seats, but the latest poll suggests they would drop to 7-10. 

The main party that has benefited from this trend would be the People’s Party, which would skyrocket from 3 to 8-12. This is not as high as expected in November, when the CEO poll estimated they would win 11-16 seats,  putting them close to their all-time high of 19 in 2012.

The conservatives would also gain ground thanks to the fall of Ciudadanos, who are projected to drop from their current 6 MPs to between 0 and 5. The party led by Inés Arrimadas could be out of the chamber for the first time since its breakthrough in 2006.

At the other end of the political spectrum, far-left pro-independence CUP is expected to remain stable at 8-12 seats, meaning they could potentially lose one or gain three from their current 9.

Left-wing anti-austerity En Comú Podem's projected results vary between 7-12, a similar result to their current 8 seats, but higher to the 6-10 seen in the November 2022 CEO poll.

The poll surveyed 2,000 people between February 27 and March 24, before the suspended parliament speaker Laura Borràs was sentenced on March 30.