Monday, March 1, 2021

Catalonia takes votes in elections with unpredictable outcome – ZAP

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The independence movements will this Saturday try to keep the majority that they have for almost ten years in the Spanish region of Catalonia, in elections to the regional parliament where the socialist candidate is likely to be the most voted.

The electoral consultation takes place in a context of a sharp increase in cases of covid-19, after the Christmas season, which help to increase abstention, which makes the final result more unpredictable.

The separatist parties, which are in power in Catalonia seem well placed to maintain the majority, but extremely divided and with a disillusioned electorate with the failed attempt at independence in the region in 2017, which leads the socialist candidate to hope for a good result.

The great bet of the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, in the regional elections fell on the former Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, ahead in the polls but with little possibility of displacing the independence of power.

Most published polls give victory to the list of the Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC, associated with PSOE) slightly ahead (21-22%) of the two main independence formations that govern the autonomous community’s affiliates: the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC, 20-21%) and the Together for Catalonia (JxC, 19-20%).

The PSC, with a conciliatory attitude, will benefit from the helpful vote of the constitutionalist voters (for the unity of Spain), which had already happened in 2017 with the Citizens (right-liberal) who won the previous elections, but did not prevent a separatist majority. in the regional parliament of more than 68 votes out of 135.

Together for Catalonia (right), the party of the former regional president who is now on the run in Belgium, Carles Puigdemont, continues to defend the confrontation with the central state and repeated that it intends to unilaterally proclaim independence, if it wins the elections.

For its part, the Republican Left of Catalonia (socialist) defends the dialogue with Pedro Sánchez, being even a fundamental ally for him to remain in power in Madrid.

In what was a very controversial decision, voters with the covid-19 virus or quarantined will have the right to vote from 6 pm to 7 pm, before the polls close.

Polling station members will have complete protective equipment to dress in that time frame, many of whom tried to break the obligation to ensure the functioning of polling stations.

About 31,000 of the 82,000 summoned to the tables asked to be exempt from appearing, but the authorities have not revealed how many requests they have accepted and ensure that the suffrage is not at risk.

If in 2017 there were only 2% who said they would not vote, now they would be 12%, according to the surveys, this percentage being higher than that verified before the Galician (4%) and Basque (8%) elections held in July last year, already during the covid-19 pandemic.

A total of 14,200 officers from the regional police (Mossos d’Esquadra) and the local police from Catalonia are deployed to ensure security at the 2,769 polling stations on Sunday.

Catalonia is located in the northeast of Spain and is one of the 17 autonomous communities in the country, with a government and a regional parliament, as well as its own police (Mossos d’Esquadra).

The Catalan executive, like that of the other autonomous communities, has important powers in areas such as Education and Health, but the other main areas of governance are in the hands of the central government: taxes, foreign affairs, defense, infrastructure (ports, airports and railways), among others.

The region has approximately 7.8 million inhabitants and is considered the richest in Spain, producing a fifth of the country’s wealth and with an annual GDP higher than that of Portugal or Greece.

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Catalonia takes votes in elections with unpredictable outcome - ZAP