First assessment of the Catalan elections

By Rubén Tzanoff

The action of the regime induced a low turnout. The PSC obtained a triumph with a bitter taste. ERC tied in seats with PSC and came first in independentism, which obtained a majority in the Parliament. JxCat came third. Ciudadanos and the PP collapsed. Vox burst in with eleven deputies. En Comú Podem remains stagnant and the CUP grew. The formation of the Government and the investiture of a new President lie ahead. No confidence should be placed in the constitutionalists or in those who defend the interests of the Catalan bourgeoisie.

The date of February 14 to hold the elections was imposed by the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC), in spite of having been suspended for May 30. They did not mind forcing people to be exposed to Covid-19 infection in the middle of the third wave of the pandemic. The reckless action of the magistrates was functional to the candidacy of Salvador Illia and the cause of the worst citizen participation in democracy, which fell from 79.09% in 2017 to 53.5%. In addition, the anger with the central and autonomous governments and the disinterest of a part of the population also played a role.

The results, which are interesting to compare with the 2017 election, have brought about changes. The mass media and the Moncloa propagandized the “Illa effect” to present their candidate as a sure “great winner”. Part of the objective was achieved, since the PSC came out first, with 23.02% of the votes and 33 seats -16 more than in the previous legislature-, it was recomposed in the interior and won in large urban centers such as Barcelona and L’Hospitalet. However, it is a triumph that left them with a bitter taste since it distanced them from the objective of achieving support to “turn the page” of self-determination. The regime of ’78 does not manage to crush the Catalan demands with repression, persecution, jail or political maneuvers.

ERC reached 21.31% with 33 seats. This allowed its candidate Pere Aragonés to postulate himself saying “ERC is in conditions to have the presidency”. Oriol Junqueras’ Esquerra won the arm wrestle with Carles Puigdemont’s JxCat, placing it at the head of the pro-independence movement. This has strengthened the most autonomist and dialogueist current with the oppressors, the one that has yielded the most to Pedro Sánchez. JxCat, which presented Laura Borrás, had a decrease in votes and was placed in third position with 20.06% and 32 seats, which places them before the certain possibility of losing the presidency of the Generalitat to their competitors and the initiative within the pro-independence movement. The PDEcat of Arthur Mas, direct heir of the corrupt Convergencia, obtained 2.72% and no seats.

Ciudadanos plummeted in four years: in 2017 it won the elections with 36 seats and now ranked sixth, with six deputies, going from 25.35% to 5.57%. Thus it deepened a debacle that first politically buried its leader Albert Rivera and has now done the same with Inés Arrimadas and Carlos Carrizoza. The PP drew its worst result in Catalan electoral history with 3.85% and three seats, worse than in the 2017 elections imposed by the application of Mariano Rajoy’s 155.  The blow also affects Pablo Casado’s aspirations to reach the Moncloa. The added seats of the “Trio de Colón”, express a setback of the right wing, from forty deputies in 2017 (Cs+PP) to twenty in 2021 (Cs+PP+Vox), although with a very important change: the ultra-right wing of Vox was strengthened.

Vox got 7.69% and burst in as the fourth force in the Parliament with eleven deputies, seven of them in Barcelona, nourished by votes lost by Ciudadanos and the PP. They express the existence of a minority but considerable social sector which is nationalist, anti-democratic and social rights, enemy of the struggles of workers, women and immigrants, staunch defender of the unity of Spain and brutal denier of Catalan self-determination, with a far-right ideology, very attractive to the cult of fascism. Fighting them and defeating them in the streets where they show their heads and in the institutions of the whole Spanish State is an imperious task.

En Comú Podem went from 7.46% to 6.86%, keeping eight seats. They continue to be crossed by their disastrous policy of “equidistance” of the oppressors and the oppressed, and their adaptation to the institutional regime. The big bet of candidate Jessica Albiach is to set up a “left government” with the PSC and ERC. Podemos is determined to integrate bourgeois governments disguised as progressive. 

The CUP made a very good election, obtaining 6.69%, going from four to nine deputies. It partially capitalized on the discontent of a sector of the population mobilized both with the “magical independentism” and with the “dialogist independentism”. The data show a growth of the most radical positions for self-determination and amnesty, although they are still far away from the inconsequential variants which are still in the majority. On different occasions the candidate Dolors Sabater and others affirmed “we are ready to assume responsibilities”, at the same time as considering the possibility of integrating a Catalan bourgeois government. This caused rejections that led the leadership of the CUP to correct this postulate. We, who critically voted

 for the CUP expressing warnings, reaffirm that the CUP should not integrate a Catalan bourgeois government.

The electoral balance is not complete since the last word has not yet been said: the formation of a new Government, for which the pro-independence movement has a majority. The leader of ERC, Oriol Junqueras has expressed: “We want to join with the independentistas and we want a Government and a parliamentary majority that is as broad as possible. We also said that we would not govern with the PSC and we will not do so”. The commons are opposed to getting involved with JxCat and they propose a government composed only of pro-independence supporters. A tripartite PSC, ERC and En Comú Podem, as proposed by the socialists is mathematically possible (68 deputies the limit of the absolute majority), but it does not appear as very politically probable due to the crossed vetoes. In spite of this, Salvador Illa will run for the investiture.

What will happen still remains to be seen in the end. What is coming is a period of 20 working days from the celebration of the elections for the Parliament to be constituted, that is to say that the limit is March 12. The investiture debate could be held at the end of March. In case a President is not elected, a period of 2 months would begin to run to try to achieve it and if it also fails, 54 days would begin to run until the electoral repetition in the second half of July.  Meanwhile, it is necessary to support the struggles of workers against the consequences of the capitalist crisis, to demand the freedom of Pablo Hasél and to support the feminist movement in the preparation of a big strike and struggle for 8M.

At the same time, it is necessary to set up a strong pole of the revolutionary socialist left to fight for a consistent course of class independence, anti-capitalist, for self-determination and amnesty, separating itself sharply from those who act as a transmission belt of the Catalan bourgeoisie, to deepen the road of the consequence for the defeat of the regime of ’78, for the Catalan Republic and socialism.