Party Review – the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) asks for an “exceptional majority” to back self-determination

November 23, 2012 10:11 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The incumbent President of the Catalan Government and the main CiU candidate, Artur Mas, is asking for massive support in order to have the strength to negotiate the organisation of an independence referendum. The CiU is focusing the re-election campaign on the self-determination process, heading away from the unpopular budget cuts it has been implementing over the last two years. The CiU is currently Catalonia’s largest party, running most of the public offices. It has 62 MPs in the 135-seat Parliament and gained 38.43% of the votes in the 2010 elections. Polls give them between 61 and 71 seats, in the best scenario obtaining an absolute majority. However, the CiU campaign has been completely derailed nine days before the elections by the Spanish nationalist newspaper El Mundo, which accused Mas and other top CiU leaders of corruption. These accusations turned out to be false and Mas is now accusing the Spanish Government of playing dirty tricks.

Party Review – the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) likely to plummet and be overtaken by smaller parties

November 22, 2012 11:53 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

For the last 30 years, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) have been Catalonia’s two main political forces, running the main public institutions and getting electoral results far higher than the rest of the parties. However, in 2006, the PSC started to decline and in the last Catalan elections it obtained its worst results ever, with 28 MPs and 18.38% of the votes. However, the party seems to be continuing its nose-dive and polls predict it could get between 22 and 15 MPs on the 25th of November, which could mean falling from being the second to third or even fourth-largest party in the Catalan Parliament. After a leadership change last December, the party led by Pere Navarro continued to marginalise its more pro-Catalan-identity members in top positions. The PSC defends a federal and pluri-national Spain, while recognising Catalonia’s nationhood.

Party Review – the Spanish Nationalist People’s Party (PP) focuses on stopping the “independence delirium”

November 21, 2012 10:32 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

As opposed to the rest of Spain, the PP is a small party within Catalonia. In the last Catalan elections, they got their best results ever, increasing from 14 to 18 seats in the 135-seat Catalan Parliament and obtaining 12.37% of the votes. In the last elections, the Catalan branch of the PP , led by Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, focused on immigration and the economic crisis. Now, while they are running the Spanish Government and have negotiated many austerity measures in Catalonia, the PP is focusing on fighting the “independence delirium”, as they call it. All its leaders, including Rajoy, are participating intensively in the campaign. The PP presents itself as the “useful vote” to stop Catalonia’s self-determination process, as they think of Spain as not being a pluri-national state. Polls give them between 16 and 19 MPs and they could become the second largest party in the Catalan Parliament.

Party Review – the Catalan Green Socialists and Communists (ICV-EUiA), the most vocal opposition to budget cuts

November 20, 2012 11:15 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

With 10 MPs and 7.37% of the votes in the last Catalan elections, the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) has been the most vocal opposition to the Catalan Government’s austerity measures, despite being the fourth largest party in the Catalan Parliament. ICV-EUiA is trying to attract those who participated in the numerous anti-budget cut demonstrations, as well as those who attended 15-M Movement protests. Polls indicate that the ICV-EUiA might increase their support but are not conclusive as to what extent, as it seems they could obtain between 10 and 16 MPs. Besides the social and environmental agenda, the ICV-EUiA openly supports Catalonia’s self-determination right and the organisation of an independence referendum next term. However, Joan Herrera refuses to say if he personally supports the push for independence, as he says it would depend on the alternatives offered.

Party Review – the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) might be the second largest party

November 19, 2012 09:56 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

ERC, now led by Oriol Junqueras, is facing the next Catalan elections aware they will significantly increase their number of MPs and knowing that they are likely to play an essential role in Catalonia’s politics in the next term. After renovating their leadership and with a moderately-pitched speech, ERC might increase the current 10 MPs – which was their worst result in 20 years – to 16 or even 19 MPs, according to the latest polls. Furthermore, depending on the results obtained by the pro-Spain unity parties PSC and PP, ERC might become the second largest group in the Catalan Parliament. In any case, as they are the party that historically supports Catalonia’s independence, ERC will offer its support to the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) to organise a self-determination referendum.

Party Review – Solidaritat (SI), the radical Catalan independence party

November 16, 2012 11:32 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Solidaritat per la Indepedència (SI) started in 2010, defending a fast track towards independence and profiting from the crisis of the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC). SI grew around the magnetic Joan Laporta, former President of FC Barcelona. In 2010, they obtained 3.29% of the votes and 4 MPs in the Catalan Parliament. Laporta quit the party and Alfons López Tena is the current candidate for Catalan President. With a demagogical speech, they have exclusively focused on asking for a unilateral independence declaration. Now, SI faces the challenge of remaining in the Parliament, when the traditional Catalan nationalist parties are also supporting independence. According to the polls, SI is not likely to have enough votes to stay in the Parliament.

Party Review – Ciutadans (C’s), the anti-Catalan nationalism and left-wing party

November 15, 2012 11:01 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

With 3.39% of the votes in the last elections and 3 MPs in the Catalan Parliament, polls indicate that the number of Ciutadans’s MPs could double in the next elections, resulting in between 6 and 8 MPs, and forming its own parliamentary group for the first time. In its 6 years of existence, it has mainly focused on attacking the policies defending the Catalan language. Now, clearly opposed to Catalan independence and organising a self-determination referendum, C’s is lifting the banner of Spanish unity to attract voters. Ciutadans is seen by many as a populist party, with a conflict-driven speech criticising Catalonia’s political class and offering easy solutions to complex social problems.

The official campaign for the Catalan elections starts focused on the independence debate

November 9, 2012 10:56 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Elections for the Catalan Parliament, which will elect the next President of the Catalan Government, are to be held on the 25th of November. The two-week electoral campaign has started, with Catalonia’s independence as the main topic of debate, while opposition parties are trying to put the budget cuts and the recovery from the economic crisis upfront. On Thursday, minutes before midnight, political parties officially kicked off the campaign, although the race started a month and a half ago, when the Catalan President, Artur Mas, called for early elections. Surveys indicate that Mas’ party, the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), will win the elections again, with improved results and close to an absolute majority. Catalonia’s political map may change with the Socialist Party likely to drop.

Support for Catalonia’s independence grows and polls say pro-independence parties would win the next elections

November 8, 2012 06:37 PM | CNA

Just before the Catalan election campaign kicks off, the survey centres run by the Spanish and the Catalan governments have both issued their own polls. 57% of Catalans would vote for independence in a referendum, according to the Catalan survey. In June the percentage was 51%. The Spanish survey did not include the question. Both polls agree that the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – currently running the Catalan Government – would gain more votes, close to obtaining an absolute majority. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which is against independence and already obtained its worst results ever in 2010, would lose between 30% and 45% of MPs. The People’s Party (PP) would obtain similar results, but might become the party in second place. The Left-Wing Independence Party (ERC) would increase its representation by 40% to 70% and might become the third party.

The Catalan President in Brussels: Catalonia “expects Europe will not let it down”

November 7, 2012 11:04 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, held a debate in Brussels, at an event organised by the think tank Friends of Europe. Mas praised Catalonia’s European and democratic traditions. He talked about the self-determination process he is leading, which will be “scrupulously democratic”, “absolutely peaceful”, “demonstrably transparent”, “with an ample majority” and “within the framework of the European Union”. “What I want for Catalonia is for it to be its own State that must, necessarily, share interdependencies within a more united and stronger Europe”, he stated. If Catalonia could not remain in the EU, he would still ask the Catalan people about their future, “as it is the most important thing”. The opposition parties criticised Mas’ trip before the start of the electoral campaign.

A Westminster report states that an independent Scotland would be EU Member State from first day

October 31, 2012 08:53 PM | CNA

The report, published by the British Parliament, has been drafted by a senior expert on the enlargement of the European Union, Honorary Director-General of the European Commission and Senior Adviser at the European Policy Centre. The arguments in the document also apply to the Catalan case. The text states that “for practical and political reasons [Scottish people] could not be asked to leave the EU and apply for readmission” since “having been members of the EU for 40 years, [they] have acquired rights as European citizens”. The analysis concludes that “negotiations on the terms of membership would take place in the period between the referendum and the planned date of independence” and that “the EU would adopt a simplified procedure for the negotiations”.

The European Commission sends contradictory messages regarding hypothetical Catalan independence

October 30, 2012 11:07 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Commissioners Reding and Almunia have publicly said that, if there were a unilateral declaration of independence, Catalonia would not be automatically expelled from the EU. However, after being put under pressure by the Spanish Government, Reding sent a private letter stating she shared Madrid’s analysis that a unilateral independence would lead to exclusion from the EU and having to re-apply for accession, which would require a unanimous vote among the 27 Member States. After Madrid’s complaints about previous statements, the EC stated that it would not give its opinion on the issue if the Spanish Government does not explicitly ask for it “on the basis of a precise scenario”. The Catalan Government has noted that there is not a precise scenario as yet. None of the main parties propose a unilateral declaration of independence.

The Catalan Socialists propose a constitutional self-determination referendum but the Spanish Socialists are opposed

October 29, 2012 11:23 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The PSC approved its electoral programme last weekend with the aim of becoming a third option “between the recentralisation of the People’s Party (PP) and the independence of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU)”. They propose the reformation of the Constitution to build a federal Spain and the organisation of a self-determination referendum in Catalonia, in which they would defend Spain’s unity. However, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) – to which the Catalan Socialists (PSC) are federated – is against the possibility of organising a self-determination referendum in Catalonia. A few weeks ago, the PSC was still against organising such a referendum, although now they have embraced the idea shared by almost 80% of Catalans, according to the polls.

The CiU proposes an independent Catalan state within the EU by 2020

October 29, 2012 11:00 PM | CNA

The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) presented its electoral programme for the next Catalan elections, to be held on the 25th of November. CiU’s leader and incumbent President of the Catalan Government – who is running for re-election, Artur Mas, stated that “if we want a leading Catalonia in Europe, we need a state structure, which we do not have”. CiU’s electoral programme talks about creating “state structures” but it does not openly mention the word “independence”; however, it is the closest a CiU electoral programme has ever been to supporting an independent Catalonia. The document points towards Europe and is called ‘Catalonia 2020’. “We want to be stuck with Europe. If we were to choose a partner, Europe would be our current marriage choice”, stated Mas.

66.8% of small and medium-size business owners would support an independent Catalan state within the EU

October 26, 2012 12:37 AM | CNA

Pimec, the main SME association in Catalonia, issued a survey taken of its members. Two thirds of the interviewees would support Catalonia’s independence from Spain while remaining in the European Union. 21.1% would prefer a more federal Spain and only 12.1% would back the current situation. In addition, 97.5% of the interviewees support improving Catalonia’s fiscal scheme. Furthermore, 61.2% think a hypothetical boycott of Catalan products by Spain would not or would hardly affect them.