Catalans vote with independence as a background
Catalonia holds regional elections on Sunday in a fierce battle between pro-independence and anti-independence activists, known as constitutionalists, the result of which will be the immediate future of one of Spain’s most prosperous regions.
More than 5.5 million Catalans were called to the polls tomorrow amid the spread of the epidemic and they will be able to vote with important measures to avoid infection, so on Saturday the Catalan government issued a call to exercise their right to vote “responsibly”, following safety and prevention instructions.
Citizens will elect 135 deputies to their regional parliament, from which the next president of the Catalan government will emerge.
According to opinion polls, the two parties that make up the current government are very congruent: the independents JxCat of ex-president Carles Puigdemont and the ERC (Left Republicans); And the Socialist Party, which according to some opinion polls, may win the elections, although it will not be sufficient to form a government if the independence movement adds an absolute majority again.
Independent against constitutionalists
The political struggle between supporters of Catalan independence and those who oppose it, the constitutionalists, divides the Catalan society into two parts, characterizing the political life of the region, and the impact on Spain in the past ten years, in addition to causing strong political instability, with five regional elections in a period of little more than ten years .
According to the latest poll conducted last January by the Center for Opinion Studies (CEO) – a body affiliated with the Catalan government – 44.5% advocate yes to independence, compared to 47.7% who do not want Catalonia to turn into an independent country.
This split was reflected in the last week of the campaign, when the three most important independence parties: the JxCat, ERC and the CUP (Radical Independents), signed a document in which they rejected any government agreement with the Socialists, headed by the former minister. From Salvador Ella Health.
In this environment, elections will not be decided based on the preferences of the right or left of the political arc, but between those in favor or against independence, which is why agreement between left groups that include the ERC is virtually impossible in the. If the Socialists win.
However, in national politics, the ERC is seen as regular parliamentary support for the Spanish coalition government, headed by socialist Pedro Sanchez, which also includes the left-wing group United We Can.
On the other hand, the conservative Popular Party, the second political force in Spain, in Catalonia has only four seats, and in this election it is struggling to not be outdone by the far-right Vox party, which is running for the first time.
Meanwhile, Ciudadanos (Liberals), who won the previous elections in December 2017 despite his inability to judge the Independents Union, could drop this time to fourth or fifth, according to opinion polls.
Against this background, yesterday it ended a very difficult election campaign, but also extraordinary due to the restrictions imposed by the epidemic, without rallies and the presence of candidates only via the media or social networks.
Today, on the eve of the elections in Spain, no campaign is allowed, so the candidates devoted the day to the family, to watch TV series and relax at home.
Voting in times of a pandemic
In Catalonia, one of the Spanish regions where the third wave of the pandemic was tougher despite its downturn last week, authorities are asserting that everything is ready for a safe vote.
The number of polling stations was expanded throughout the region, especially in the capital, Barcelona, as other spaces were added to the traditional educational centers, including ten municipal markets and 23 sports suites.
Additionally, they recommend that older and more vulnerable people go to vote in the first three hours and that infected and isolated people do so at the last hour.
Likewise, polling stations will have personnel to control orderly access to voters, ensure mask use and ensure voters’ hands are clean.
Despite everything, more than 265,000 people (5.3% of the census) have already voted by mail and thus will not go to voting sites, up 277% from the last election of 2017.
On the other hand, the Catalan executive authority confirmed today that all polling stations can be formed, after more than 37% of the members, chosen by lot, submitted claims to exempt them from this obligation.