A Test for Separatists, Spain's Prime Minister, and the Future of the Region

Main image to the post A Test for Separatists, Spain's Prime Minister, and the Future of the Region

A Test for Separatists and Spain's Prime Minister

Catalonia, a wealthy region in northeastern Spain, is holding a regional election on Sunday, February 14th, 2021. This election will have significant implications for both the separatist movement within Catalonia and the national politics of Spain.

Over 5.7 million voters are eligible to choose lawmakers for the regional parliament in Barcelona. Separatist parties have held power in the region for over a decade. However, recent polls and the national election in July 2020 suggest that support for secession has declined since the failed independence bid led by former regional president Carles Puigdemont in 2017.

Puigdemont, currently a fugitive from Spanish justice residing in southern France, is running in this election. He has stated his intention to return to Spain once the newly elected lawmakers convene to choose a regional president. By then, he hopes to be cleared of legal charges due to a controversial amnesty being considered by Spain's parliament.

This amnesty is part of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's efforts to ease tensions in Catalonia, which also included pardoning jailed separatist leaders. Sanchez's Socialist party is campaigning alongside Salvador Illa, who won the most votes in the 2021 regional election but was unable to form a government.

The election will also see a contest within the separatist camp between Puigdemont's conservative Together party and the Republican Left of Catalonia led by Pere Aragones, the current regional president. Additionally, a far-right pro-secession party called Catalan Alliance will seek to gain parliamentary representation.

With nine parties competing and no single party expected to win a majority, post-election negotiations and coalition building will be crucial in determining the future of Catalonia's government.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09