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15:48, 21 December 2017

Catalonia Election: What to Watch For


Catalonia Election: What to Watch For

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Catalans vote on Thursday for a new regional Parliament, an election that could determine regardless of whether the region persists in its drive for independence or alternatively seeks to negotiate a settlement with the Spanish central government right after months of feuding. Right here is what to watch for.

Why are Catalans voting?

The election was referred to as by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain right after he took extraordinary manage of the area in late October to quit secessionism in its tracks. Mr. Rajoy employed his emergency constitutional powers hours following separatist lawmakers declared independence from Spain.

Mr. Rajoy is gambling that voters will punish the separatists who had propelled the nation’s worst constitutional crisis in decades — and then let him to get rid of his emergency control and hand back power to a new regional administration that, Mr. Rajoy hopes, will be prepared to stay inside Spain.

Inés Arrimadas, center, a candidate and leader of the Ciudadanos party in Catalonia, at a campaign occasion in Barcelona on Tuesday.CreditEmilio Morenatti/Associated Press

Who is expected to win?

The last opinion polls showed a race as well close to get in touch with. The main unionist and separatist parties were running neck-and-neck.

Most polls give Ciudadanos, a center-appropriate party fiercely opposed to independence, a slight lead more than Esquerra Republicana, a left-wing separatist celebration. But no single celebration is anticipated to come close to a majority. The most important thing to look for is whether unionist or separatist parties, as a entire, come out on leading.

A fragmented result seems attainable, in which as several as seven parties enter the 135-seat Parliament. That could mean a hard round of negotiations to kind an additional coalition government. If the deadlock is full, there is also the possibility of a second round of elections, as occurred at the national level two years ago, following inconclusive common elections in Spain.

A march in Barcelona final week in support of Catalan politicians who have been jailed on charges of rebellion.CreditEmilio Morenatti/Related Press

What could it mean for the separatists?

A crushing unionist victory would leave the separatists in possible disarray. But it is unclear what any other outcome would mean for the movement, which includes if the separatist parties win.

The principal separatist parties held a fragile majority in the final Parliament. They have not agreed on how they would revive the fractious coalition, which is even a lot more strained by the turmoil of the final few months. A smaller separatist celebration, the far-left Well-liked Unity Candidacy, is also competing, even even though denouncing the vote as illegitimate, complicating matters further.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain at a rally in Tarragona last week.CreditEmilio Morenatti/Related Press

What about the rest of Spain?

Mr. Rajoy pledged that an early election would help return Catalonia to “normality and legality.” Need to the result alternatively plunge the region into a new chapter of tensions and uncertainty, his personal scenario would turn out to be far more fragile.

Mr. Rajoy currently sits at the helm of a minority government in Madrid. He has been kept in office because last year by an alliance with Ciudadanos, the center-correct party that is now expected to collect most of the unionist votes in Catalonia. Opinion polls, meanwhile, show Mr. Rajoy’s Well-liked Party heading for a heavy defeat in the Catalan election. Such an outcome could shift the balance of power in Madrid.

The ousted Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, campaigning from Brussels.CreditEmilio Morenatti/Associated Press

Will the separatists accept the final results?

The election is taking place in abnormal circumstances, beneath direct, emergency administration from Madrid. The most controversial aspect of the campaign has been that the leaders of the two main separatist parties have not been in Catalonia.

Carles Puigdemont, the ousted leader of Catalonia, has been campaigning by way of satellite link from Belgium, where he fled fearing prosecution in Spain. His former deputy, Oriol Junqueras, has been in prison in Madrid, awaiting trial on rebellion and other charges. Both Mr. Puigdemont and Mr. Junqueras have denounced the circumstances of the election, but they are anticipated to accept its outcome.

If elected, nevertheless, it is unclear how they could then take their seats in a new Catalan Parliament while also facing prospective prosecution for sedition and rebellion, which can carry 30-year prison terms.

Ballot papers at a polling station in Barcelona on Thursday.CreditSanti Palacios/Linked Press

When will we know the outcome?

Polls opened at 9 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m. Unlike Catalonia’s October independence referendum, which Spanish authorities attempted to block with thousands of police officers, no clashes are anticipated this time. Pollsters predict a record turnout, right after politicians on each sides presented the election as a make-or-break 1 for Catalonia. No official exit polls are anticipated, but representatives of the central government are due to announce the final results just before midnight.

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Published at Thu, 21 Dec 2017 08:40:04 +0000


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