Sources: El Diario, Vilaweb, Financial Times, The Guardian / The Dawn News / October 30, 2017
As a response to the declaration of independence of Catalunya, Spanish President Mariano Rajoy dissolved the Catalan Parlament and called a snap regional election for December 21. This maneuver creates a scenario of high uncertainty. For independentist parties, running in the election would be an acknowledgment that Madrid was still calling the shots to a certain degree. On the other, boycotting the election would result in a Parliament controlled by anti-independentist forces.
But perhaps Rajoy’s move could be a bluff that ends in a flop. If the independentists finally decide not to stand in the election and turnout is low, the new parliament’s legitimacy will look precarious. And if the nationalists pick up the gauntlet and present a united list, they could turn the election into an undeclared plebiscite on independence. This they may win.
Reactions by Catalan parties
The CUP denounces the snap election
CUP deputy Mireia Boya has called last Monday to “confront” the Parliamentary elections convened by Mariano Rajoy for December 21. The anti-capitalist Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP), considers that these elections are “illegitimate”, since “they will occur amidst a scenario of repression” and therefore can’t be considered to be “under the rule of democracy”.
The Catalan left-wing party has not yet decided on a strategy in this scenario. “There are many ways to confront elections and we will have to decide on it”, said Boya, who added that the option of her running as a candidate in the elections is on the table. But the final decision will be made after debates by grassroots assemblies.
The deputy has also demanded the Catalan Govern to begin the pass of decrees that would set on motion the law of transition to independence, either from Barcelona or from Brussels, where a part of the Catalan Executive Power is currently visiting, presumably to meet with leaders of the New Flemish Alliance, which is sympathetic to the Catalan independence. She has also demanded them to be transparent in their decision-making process.
The PDeCAT and the ERC intend to participate in the 21-D elections
The center-right Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) and the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) have announced today that they are prepared to use the elections that the Spanish government called for December 21 as a formula to fight the effects of the 155. After the executives of the parties met this morning, Sergi Sabrià and Marta Pascal have confirmed that the independentist organizations will participate in the elections.
The ERC believes this can be a new opportunity to “consolidate the Republic”. “A trap has been placed on us in the form of elections. But in spite of everything, Catalans are not afraid of the polls. They want to play in a land that is ours”, Sabrià sid. The ERC has argued that the mandate of independence issued by the people on 27-S and 1-O have come true and added: “Our republic doesn’t have the ability to impose itself as we would like. We have come here together, with the strength of the people, and we will continue to do so. Peacefully and civilly”. They have confirmed they will “participate” in the elections convened by Rajoy, although they haven’t said whether they will run as a party.
On the other hand, Pascal has challenged the Spanish president: “The PDeCAT will run in the elections. Mr. Rajoy, we’ll see you at the polls”. She assured that the elections will be an opportunity to defend their country project, but avoided explaining how the PDeCAT would be presented and what candidate would run. She also stated that the best formula for the independentist parties is to reach a new absolute majority in parliament and said that President Puigdemont shared the party’s decision.