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Spain’s Catalonia ushers in fresh era following Socialists’ vote win

Spain’s Catalonia ushers in fresh era following Socialists’ vote win


News report by Hanadi Watfa MADRID, Spain’s Catalonia is now ushering in a new era following the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) win of regional parliamentary elections, which paused the majority enjoyed by pro-independence parties for more than a decade.

The final vote results showed that the Socialists, led by the party’s local leader and COVID-19-era health minister Salvador Illa, had won 42 of the 135 seats in the regional parliament.

The separatist Junts party of Carles Puigdemont came in second with 35 seats, while fellow separatists Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) won 20 seats, with others trailing further behind.

Combined, the competing separatist parties took just 61 seats, leaving the pro-independence movement with no chance of retaining their absolute majority.

The new era could halt the separatist process, which had reached its acme in 2017 with the “illegal” declaration of Catalonia’s unilateral separation from Spain, and consequent legal procedures against leaders, and even end po
litical tensions in the region.

Although it is still uneasy to figure out the root causes of the nationalists’ loss of parliamentary majority for the first time since 1980, the negative results of pro-independence parties does not mean that they have already lost their social grassroots.

To prove that, various opinion polls show that supporting an independent Catalonian state now ranges between 30 and 40 percent.

The fact that turnout was down to 57.94 bespeaks that the Catalonian society was fed up with stupendous political tensions and institutional disruption, and that people are, instead, in need of a government that should focus on daily life needs, health, education and environment and whatnots.

Furthermore, dwindling separatist trends in the region may be due to Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s plans for reconciliation, dialogue and coexistence since 2018, which could culminate in the amnesty law in the next few weeks.

Sanchez has repeatedly defended the amnesty, arguing it was needed to ”
heal the wounds” opened by the wealthy northeastern region’s independence push.

Meanwhile, the new era, comparatively, encompasses other developments such as the rising of far-right groups as “Together for Catalonia” Party has won 35 seats, and the People’s Party has garnered 15 seats.

The far-right Vox Part has taken 11 seats, while Catalan Alliance has invaded the parliamentary scene by obtaining two seats. Although the emergence of far-right parties is, in fact, worrisome, the Socialists could ally with the radical left Comuns Sumar, or Commons Unite, which won six seats and the moderate independence party ERC, which won 20, thus having a sweeping majority of 68 seats.

This scenario is widely expected to ensure political stability in the region since the governing Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) win of Catalonia’s regional parliamentary elections, has already broken the majority enjoyed by pro-independence parties for more than a decade.

The new parliament is expected to be formed by June 10 at
most, with the potential president’s inauguration session to be held on June 25, when a sweeping majority of 68 votes is required. If not, another session will take place two days later, with a simple majority being needed.

If no candidate secures the required parliamentary backing before next August 25, the parliament will be dissolved and new elections take place in October.

Source: Kuwait News Agency