The People’s Party would win the Spanish General Elections with an absolute majority, according to the exit polls

Catalonia is the only autonomous community where the Socialist Party has clearly won, but has lost around 35% of its MPs, according to the exit poll released by TV3. The People’s Party (PP) will remain Catalonia’s third biggest force, behind the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalists (CiU), who will increase their share by some 40%. The exit polls released at 20.00 CET, when the polls closed, indicate an absolute majority for the PP and an historical defeat for the Socialists throughout Spain. The PP will get between 181 and 185 MPs, when the absolute majority is 176 seats. The election day has been calm, with a lower turnout than in the 2008 elections, particularly in Catalonia.

CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

November 20, 2011 09:53 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- The People’s Party (PP) would win the Spanish elections according to the exit polls released by the Catalan Public TV at 20.00 CET, when voting stations closed. To be confirmed, Mariano Rajoy will become the next Spanish Prime Minister, as the PP would win between 181 and 185 seats in the next Spanish Parliament. The absolute majority is set at 176 MPs. The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) would face its worst electoral results ever, obtaining between 115 and 119 seats, when in 2008 it won 169 MPs. Catalonia is the only autonomous community where the Socialists would clearly win, according to the exit polls. In the Basque Country, the Socialists might have also won, but there would be a tie among three parties. In Catalonia, despite winning, the Socialists would lose between 32% and 40% of their seats. The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition ‘Convergència i Unió’ (CiU) would become the second party in Catalonia, defeating the People’s Party. CiU would significantly increase its results, jumping from 10 MPs to 13 or even 15 according to the exit polls. The third party in Catalonia would still be the PP, going from 8 to 11 MPs, an improvement but not as much as last week’s polls indicated, which gave them between 12 and 14 MPs, and the possibility of becoming Catalonia’s second party. Two other parties would get parliamentary representation. The Catalan Green Socialist Party ‘Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds’ (ICV), which runs in a coalition with the Catalan branch of the Communist ‘Izquierda Unida’ (EUiA), would probably triple its results, passing from 1 MP to 3. Finally, the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party ‘Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya’ (ERC) looks set to keep its 3 seats in the Spanish Parliament, after increasing their number of votes.

A lower turnout in Catalonia

The election day has been calm in Catalonia, as in the rest of Spain. There have only been isolated incidents, such as a few voting stations that had silicone put in their key holes or some protest graffiti.

The turnout in Catalonia has been lower than in the previous Spanish elections held in 2008, and it has also been lower than in the whole of Spain. At 18.00 CET, two hours before the voting stations closed, 53.2% of potential voters in Catalonia had cast their vote, which represents 4.2 percentage points less than in 2008. Looking at the four Catalan provinces, in Barcelona, the turnout at 18.00 CET was 53.8%, 3.8 percentage points less. In Tarragona, it was 52.0% (5 percentage points lower). In Girona, the turnout at 18.00 CET was 51.9% (5.5 points lower than in 2008). Finally, in Lleida, it was 49.6% (5.9 percentage points less).

A lower turnout throughout Spain except for the Basque Country

In Spain as a whole, 57.6% of those eligible to vote had cast their ballot, which means 3.3 percentage points less than in 2008. In fact, the turnout has decreased throughout Spain, except in the Basque Country. The Basque exception is probably due to the Basque-independence supporters, who have run in the elections as they were not allowed to do so in 2008 because they had not condemned ETA’s killings and violence. Murcia is the Autonomous Community with the highest turnout at 18.00 CET, with 63.3%. Analysts indicate that the lower turnout might correspond to demobilised voters of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), who gave their support to the PSOE in 2008 but who decided to stay at home in these elections.

The Spanish electoral system

The Spanish elections are organised into 50 provincial constituencies, plus Ceuta and Melilla. Provincial constituencies are allocated a minimum number of seats in the Spanish Parliament, and then another number considering their population. The Spanish Parliament balances the territory with the population, which is the main criterion. Political parties decide if they run in a given province or not, and accordingly they present a closed list, with names totalling the number of MPs elected in the province. Citizens can only vote for a single list, without being able to alter the order of names within the list or choose individual names. Within the constituency, MPs are elected following the D’Hondt proportionality rule.

The main Catalan candidates

Catalans do not directly vote for the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) candidate to become the new Prime Minister, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, neither for the People’s Party (PP) candidate, Mariano Rajoy. Rubalcaba and Rajoy run in Madrid Province. Catalans vote for the candidates on the lists running in their province, in one of the four Catalan provinces: Barcelona, Tarragona, Girona and Lleida.

Among many other lists and NOTA votes, most Catalans have voted for the candidates of Catalonia’s five main parties. The top candidates of these five parties run in Barcelona province, which concentrates almost three quarters of Catalonia’s population. They are the following: for the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) –which is part of the PSOE-, Carme Chacón, the current Spanish Minister of Defence; for the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition ‘Convergència i Unió’ (CiU), Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, CiU’s “number two” and currently CiU’s Spokesperson at the Spanish Parliament; for the People’s Party (PP), Jorge Fernández Díaz, a veteran MP who has been close to the party leadership in Catalonia over the last number of decades; for the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party ‘Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya’ (ERC), Alfred Bosch, a historian without any formal experience in politics but who won the party primaries; and, for the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition ‘Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds - Esquerra Unida i Alternativa (ICV-EUiA), Joan Coscubiela, the former leader of the Catalan Worker’s Commissions trade union(CCOO).