Catalonians vote for a new regional parliament in snap elections

Catalonians vote for a new regional parliament in snap elections

Two months after Madrid suspended the region’s autonomy, voters in Catalonia will elect a new regional government today. Brought to power as a coalition in 2015, the Catalan Democratic Party and Republican Left of Catalonia are splitting the pro-independence vote by competing on separate tickets. Both parties have dropped calls for unilateral independence, instead favouring

Catalan regional elections 2017

Photo: Emilio Morenatti/AP

Two months after Madrid suspended the region’s autonomy, voters in Catalonia will elect a new regional government today.

Brought to power as a coalition in 2015, the Catalan Democratic Party and Republican Left of Catalonia are splitting the pro-independence vote by competing on separate tickets. Both parties have dropped calls for unilateral independence, instead favouring negotiations with Madrid.

Polling indicates a pro-independence bloc is likely to edge out unionists by a 1-5 seat margin. With voter turnout expected above 80%—a stark contrast to the 42% recorded during October’s independence referendum—a victory today would give secessionists greater leverage in negotiations with Madrid.

But despite the political reset, tensions between Madrid and Barcelona look set to stay and the push for independence will continue. Having been cowed in the short term, expect a new regional government to push back through softer means, such as civil disobedience and legislation that tests Madrid’s boundaries.

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