Monday 26 November 2012

The Catalonian Elections.

or Más o Menos

Against expectations (see here), the Catalonian regional elections did not go well to Artur Mas and CiU.

Pro-business, conservative and nationalist, CiU was estimated to win between 62 and 66 seats in the 135 seats Parliament, after hurriedly mounting on Catalonian nationalism bandwagon. According to the latest information, CiU managed to get 50. (See here, in Spanish)

These are the final results:

Party      |  Seats
    CiU    |    50   
    ERC    |    21   
    PSC    |    20   
    |    19   
    ICV    |    13   
    C's    | 
    CUP    |  

CiU's poor results are attributed to several factors. The left press mentions a smear campaign, allegedly directed from the also pro-business and conservative (but anti Catalonian nationalism) PP (see here, in Spanish), linking Artur Mas to alleged corruption and tax evasion.

In a development that parallels the Greek case (see here), Spain has its own list of suspects in tax evasion. As in Greece, although the existence of the list is widely known, the media has not been released an official copy of it.

Regular readers may also remember that the Rajoy government decreed a fiscal fraud amnesty last June (see here). According to the Finance minister Cristóbal Montoro (PP), author of the fiscal fraud amnesty decree, it should have collected up to EUR 2.5 billion in regularization fees. In reality, only 50 million were collected (See here, in Spanish)

However, Mas, as the incumbent Premier (President de la Generalitat de Calunya, in Catalonian), has enacted his own and extremely grievous austerity measures, suppressing popular protests with the notoriously brutal Mossos d'Esquadra.

In any case, it appears the Catalonian people did not swallow Mas' demagoguery.


This faux step does not mean the Catalonian independentist movement is over. The second parliamentary party, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, while left-wing, is fiercely pro-independence and has increased its parliamentarian representation.

Additionally, the process required to secede is devilishly complicated, making future developments difficult to guess. It would require a previous constitutional reform; referenda, in Spain, are not necessarily binding and require the King's approval; an independent Catalonia would start its life outside the EU and would have to apply. (See here, in Spanish)

On top, the relations between CiU/Mas and PP/Rajoy appear to be tense, to say the least. Catalonians, feeling themselves captive to a union they rightly or wrongly consider against their interests, could push a weakened Mas to take measures he doesn't really want.

One thing seems certain, though: the ride is not over for Rajoy.

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