Wednesday, May 28, 2014

European poll highlights regional rift in Spain. El pacte 3a via més difícil per a Mr. Mas

May 27, 2014 9:07 am

European poll highlights regional rift in Spain

Barcelona's football fans display a giant "Estalada", the Catalan independentist flag©AFP
Barcelona's football fans display a giant 'Estalada', the Catalan independentist flag

 High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.
In legal terms, Catalan leaders have yet to work out how they can hold a referendum on independence from Spain. In electoral terms, however, the northern region already looks like a different country.
The widening gulf between Catalonia and the rest of the nation was highlighted by the starkly diverging outcomes in Sunday’s European Parliament election: after a campaign dominated by the issue of independence, more than 55 per cent of Catalan voters backed parties that support a referendum on the region’s future status. Most do not even stand in other parts of the country. Five years ago, their share of the vote was only 38 per cent.


On this story

In contrast, Spain’s ruling Popular Party and the opposition Socialists – still by far the largest formations in the country – suffered heavy losses and found themselves pushed further to the margins of Catalan politics. “What you see in Catalonia is the emergence of a distinct Catalan party system,” says Charles Powell, director of the Real Instituto Elcano think-tank in Madrid.
The big winner on Sunday night was the leftwing Esquerra Republicana (ERC), a hardline secessionist party that is the most outspoken supporter of a historic break between Catalonia and Spain. Its share of the vote rose from 9 per cent at the last European election in 2009 to 24 per cent, making the ERC the biggest political party in Catalonia. Oriol Junqueras, the leader of the ERC, said the result marked “a further step towards Catalan independence”.
Convergència i Unió, the centre-right nationalist party that currently rules Catalonia, came second, with 22 per cent of the vote. Its share of the vote held up reasonably well, but analysts believe that Sunday’s result will increase the political pressure on the party and its leader, Artur Mas, the regional president. With support shifting towards the hardline secessionists, Mr Mas’s ability to strike a last-minute accord with Madrid to avoid a head-on constitutional clash could be severely curtailed.

In depth

European elections 2014
EU elections
Extremists and eurosceptic parties make big gains in elections for the European Parliament
“The [independence] process gains in strength, but Mas is weakened,” wrote Lluis Bassets, a Barcelona-based political columnist for the El País daily. “In these European elections of 2014, Convergència i Unió loses the hegemony of the process, and Artur Mas himself is forced to share the leadership.”
It is not just inside the independence camp that the more extreme parties are gaining ground, but also among political groups that want Catalonia to remain part of Spain. Ciutadans, a recently-formed rightwing party that is fiercely opposed to Catalan independence, captured more than 6 per cent of the vote, mostly from former PP voters who want Spain’s ruling party to take a tougher line against Barcelona.
The PP, which again emerged as the biggest political force nationwide, took less than 10 per cent of the Catalan vote. It is now only the fifth-largest party in a region that accounts for 20 per cent of Spain’s economic output. The opposition Socialists, which for decades looked to Catalonia as one of the political bastions, won just 14 per cent of the vote – down from 36 per cent in 2009.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2014. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web.
Post your own comment
User9323632 Update your profile
Subscribe to comments
Sorted by newest first | Sort by oldest first
  1. Report llave | May 28 11:44am | Permalink

    How is a party from Catalonia an anti-catalan party? Do any party that does not share your ideas go against its country/region/city? They have a view of what is the ideal status of Catalonia in Spain that is different for yours, so maybe in their opinion you are anti-catalan as well...
  2. Report Javier BG | May 28 4:28am | Permalink
    Amazing and surprising how your misconception of reality can be. Saying that Ciutadans is an anticatalan party is absolutely ludicrous and the lie of telling that they want to eliminate the Catalan language, well, as I said, amazing. You made me laugh out loud for a while, thank you very much. Hilarious.
  3. Report Palaephatus | May 27 10:43pm | Permalink
    What is Ciutadans, then? A left-wing party? No. It is just an anti-Catalan party. Javier BG says that they are against the idea of putting the national rights before individual rights, but it is exactly the opposite: they put the Spanish national rights before the individual rights of the Catalans! They don't want Catalans to vote, and want to eliminate the Catalan language, and this is it. They have no other ideology. Oh, yeahhh! I just forgot! They are against corruption! But, then, who isn't?
  4. Report Jonely | May 27 10:37pm | Permalink
    The main political parties in Madrid appear to show an alarming lack of knowledge about the political situation in Catalonia. They have been baging on about Artur Mas as if he was the only politician in Catalonia in favor of a referéndum on Independence. His party have come second in the polls in Catalonia, and they are claiming that the Independence movement is dead, as if the party that won in Catalonia was against Independence (ERC, the party which came first is the most pro-independence party there is!)
    What is certainly true is that the Partido Popular benefits from the Catalan Independence movement in the rest of Spain, and that the Catlan Independence movement benefits from the anti-Catalan rhetoric of the PP. Could it be that this apparent ignorance is a facade?
  5. Report josvanderfiets | May 27 9:45pm | Permalink
    Was it not because it's a "classic" reaction, I would find ridiculous and even childish, this obsession from both spanish and catalan politicians (the latter those who are against secession) to point out that Mr. Mas is weakened or has lost a handful of votes while ignoring that their own parties are becoming irrelevant, at least in Catalunya, as well as denying the true fact, which is that independentism is growing and growing by the day, in fact everytime they open their mouth or exercize fear mongering.
    I apologize for the expression before hand, but someone is pissing on their heads and they insist it's only raining.
    They understood nothing and understand nothing even today, Mr. Mas could cease to be a leader tomorrow, CiU could split and the movement would carry on, because from 2010 onwards, this issue has been driven by the folk, politicians like Mr. Mas and others from parties who have been appeasing spaniards for decades, got in front of the crowd, but it was not their "war", now it is, and most folks welcome them, but they do not own the movement.
    As for a last-minute accord, I doubt that even Mr. Mas is waiting for this, it's too late, on my view. Of course we shall have to negotiate many issues, during months or probably years, but Catalonia will cease to be the colony it has been for 3 centuries. No turning back.
  6. Report abh | May 27 8:45pm | Permalink
    For that matter you could say exactly the same thing about the Basque Country. EH Bildu that was illegal only few years ago, got more votes than the two main national parties put together... and they were not even the winners in the Basque country where the moderate PNV (confederal model with independent representation in EU) won... Expect the CiU to move in that same direction before they lose all support to the left ERC and to moderate causes. The fact of the matter is that pro-independence regional parties mobilized much more their bases than the big buerned out national parties. As for the discussion here... well it is always the same weird unfounded story that in Catalunya there is some kind of cultural repression. Not bad for a place where you cannot even study in Spanish in public school... The victimism story is running a bit thin.... As for those that say that the economic model of Cataluña is high tech... please, review the latest Eurostat research on Innovation... Cataluña is in the 3rd tier. Not even leading in Spain. Yes, there is academic reseach but pathetic levels of R/D investment.
  7. Report Javier BG | May 27 7:30pm | Permalink
    Identifying Ciutadans as a rightwing party based only on the fact that they are against independence is just ridiculous and absurd. The fact that they are against the idea of putting national rights before individual rights seems to be the reason for Mr Buck to say that this is rightwing. Amazing statement in a supposedly serious newspaper.
  8. Report Narcís Franco | May 27 5:47pm | Permalink
    It is said in the article: “What you see in Catalonia is the emergence of a distinct Catalan party system,” says Charles Powell, director of the Real Instituto Elcano think-tank in Madrid." That's really funny, because this distinction of the catalan party system is not new, but a peculiarity of Catalonian politics since the death of Franco, and even before, actually from the very begining of the XXth century. It's true that right now is a bit more different, more distinct, but it is not new at all!
  9. Report aklang | May 27 5:46pm | Permalink
    Except that Mas never had hegemony in the process, civil society has with the ANC and other civic organizations leading the way in the September 11th demonstrations.

    Classifying Ciutadans as right wing would be wrong as they get former socialist voters and their policy takes talking points from the left.

    To say that the Socialists are an opposition in Catalunya when they just supported a major Casino agreement with CIU is laughable.
  10. Report sushevisto | May 27 4:45pm | Permalink
    "Lucky Monkey"... I think that in this website you will find information:
  11. Report llave | May 27 4:30pm | Permalink
    Although 55% of the votes went to ERC+CiU+ICV, all of them parties that support the referendum, only 45% voted for parties that support the independence, given that ICV (as the Socialist Party) are in favor of a Federal system (which we already have somehow).

    If we take into account that the separatists went to vote in mass (participation increased around 9 points from the previous european elections) but this participation is still much lower than in the Spanish elections (48% vs 60-70%), I think that it will be a quimera for the separatists to achieve the 51% in a referendum.
  12. Report Manel Sanchez i Ruiz | May 27 4:24pm | Permalink
    Most comments are from catalans. But a few comments from spanish people still show how they understand nothing of what is happening. Or worse, they do not want to understand.

    Only some answers;
    - A lot of dossiers on economy has been done since 2010 (and some before). Most of they conclude and independent Catalonia will perform better than being in Spain. Not strange, because perform worse than Spain is very difficult.

    - Most of what is teach in catalan schools is decided in Madrid. By the way an 80% of History contents are decided in Madrid. So, in catalan schools they teach lies, they are lies decided in Madrid.

    - Low-quality of their politicians. Of course it is. But they are in European standards. Spanish politicians are in Banana Republic standards.

    - ERC is extremist. Well, it is a liberal leftist party (similar to LibDem but a bit more leftist) and very hard liner in individual freedom. In Spain this is extremism ? ok, but we do not care of spanish opinion if they do not like individual freedom.

    My opinion;
    For most catalans is difficult to explain in a single sentence why they want to be independent from Spain.
    But this is because they have a lot of causes to want it.

    We want a country with separation of powers, we want to have a free market and competitive enterprises (not a BOE's economy : an economy dictated by the govt. and who, arbitrarily, decides companies are they friends and allow them to pay less taxes and gives them overpaid contracts), we do not want a country with 'de facto' monopolies, we do not want a govt. who expends money in bureaucracy while closes schools, we want than when some people fraud (preferentes,bankia,... and many more) they are pursuit, we want govt. do not care on what language we speak, we do not want govt. making catholic religion mandatory at schools, we want free press and free media, we want a country were when somebody does not pay a bill is pursuit, we want a country were law is applied to everybody, we do not want a country were laws are applied retroactively and changed every few years, ...

    Summarizing: We want a country were people can take its own decissions, were govt. helps people and enterprises, but does not interfere in their life, By and large, catalan society is a lot more open and modernized than its spanish counterpart, therefore, we simple want a country for the 21 century, something Spain will never allow.
  13. Report madmax | May 27 4:01pm | Permalink
    Mmmh considering all if that is the picture, it could be worthwhile to short Caixabank
  14. Report madmax | May 27 3:59pm | Permalink
    LA CAIXA will be bankrupt the day after the independence as Catalan bonds will be toilet paper with no other use...

    50% less value in assets, less trade with Spain and with the EU. No money for pensions, nor unemployment benefits nor healthcare. Just a bunch of politicians caring to receive their 3% for the projects of multinationals that dare to enter in that VENEZUELA
  15. Report Remember Lincoln | May 27 3:27pm | Permalink
    Catalonia and Spain are marching towards confrontation. Let's hope it will be bloodless.
  16. Report raducat | May 27 3:03pm | Permalink
    Lucky Monkey, your questions reveal your complete ignorance. I suggest you that before asking these kind of low-level questions you should search in the internet. Easily you will find the solution.
  17. Report taberenc | May 27 2:58pm | Permalink
    Congrats for the article and thanks for pay atention to this subject.
    Ive read also the comments. I would like to add some ideas.
    #lucky Monkey: yes, someone has explained the effects for independence on the fields that you mention on your post. For example, the pension system consists in that the current workers are paying the pensions to the current retirees. In catalonia, the number of workers per capita is higher than the spanish media, as the unemployment rate is slightly lower than the average spanish, so in that way theres no danger for the pensions for the catalan retirees. This subject and others have been widely discussed on catalonia since 2010.
    #useStatsRight, the conclusion that 80% of catalans want to vote about independence (do not mistake, catalans that want to vote is not the same that independentist catalans) does not come from the 47% participation in this EU parliament elections. This comes from surveys that are being done by different organisms, some public and some private (press surveys, stadistic public organizations as CEO and so on). The percentage of secesionists is moving around 53% to 57%, while the "unionists" moves around 27%, while some people prefers a federated state or doesnt say what they would prefer. The ones that want independence would go to vote on a consult about this matter; the ones that dont care about maybe not. The unionist ones would maybe go or not go (trying maybe some kind of boycott for talking after that bout the low participation). The question that is planned for 9N is done to include the federalist (thats the reason of the double question). with this scenario, the partipation would possibly be higher than 50%, and support for independence would be possibly on numbers higher than 60%.
    The CEO surveys, the catalan demonstrations on the streets and mainly all the ways that catalans have for give their opinion have been denied by the spanish state and main spanish press. They use to talk about a wide silent unionist majority .. that you cant see anywhere when you have polls. CEO and other surveys have been warning and showing the rising of independentism on catalonia since 2007, and more since 2010. Deny it drives you to clash with the reallity when this shows up on an election. ERC has won on catalonia, and didnt won since the II Republic. CiU has been second for an slightly margin. IC also supports the "process" and has had good results too. And PSC still says that is federalist, while most of its voters aproves the consult. The rising Podemos (6% on catalonia) also supports the catalan "right to decide", while PP (the main political party in spain) is marginal on catalonia (10%, as the article says) and are, with Ciudadanos, the only ones directly opposed to the independence (while some of they voters would agree to have a consult on the matter).
    you can still deny that reality. Denying it is what have let the independentism growing so fast.

    p.d. sorry for my english and my vocabulary or grammar mistakes.
  18. Report martauk | May 27 2:56pm | Permalink
    It's not about economy. I read hate speech every single day against catalan and catalan culture. I AM CATALAN and very proud to be so. I like Spanish culture and floklore but it's not my own.

    The Spanish ministre FOR EDUCATION said a few years ago "Catalan pupils need to be Spanisized". I AM CATALAN AND NOBODY IS GOING TO TELL ME I NEED TO BE MORE "SPANISH"!!

    They occupied Catalunya 300 years ago and broke every peace treaty they made with England about respectful treatment of the Catalan Nation upon it's capitulation. Instead Catalans endured persecution, torture and international oblivion thanks to the Spanish regime. But still we lived together and tried to work hard for the bettermen of EVERYBODY. Catalunya produces 20% of Spain GDP and it's entitled to only 12% of it for itself.... but politicians and mainstream media will only talk about a huge debt of the Catalan government to generate hate and animosity, after all the years of solidarity we've shown them and we can't keep our taxes to pay our debts!!

    Bottom line is, I want to be Catalan and if we remain in Spain then Catalunya as a nation and a culture will disappear. They (Spanish constitutional courts) literally crossed out "nation" from our constitution only 8 years ago!! also non Catalunya regions of Catalan origin, i.e. Valencia and Balears, have already seen their language removed from many aspects of everyday life. If this is not a cultural attack I don't know what is!!
  19. Report martauk | May 27 2:36pm | Permalink
    High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

    "In legal terms, Catalan leaders have yet to work out how they can hold a referendum on independence from Spain. In electoral terms, however, the northern region already looks like a different country."

    That's not true, a so called "referendum" might not be an option as it would have to be authorised by central government, but the Catalan government has means and laws that allow for citizen consultations/petitions and this could be enough to make a unilateral declaration of independence as permitted in international law. There are many ways and nobody can stop the will of an entire country to exercise their democratic right to VOTE!
  20. Report Cmartin | May 27 1:53pm | Permalink
    In paragraph # 2 it should be added that the 55 % of those votes comes out of the 47 % of the electorate in that region. And the FT still considers this is a good point for an article. May I suggest something good to write about? Why don't you try to explain why while most countries in Europe having cast an anti EU vote the separatist in Catalonia still think that its salvation will come from a project that seems to be waning. Either way or the other Europe couldn't care less about the fate of a region wanting to drift alone.
  21. Report Lucky Monkey | May 27 1:37pm | Permalink
    Has someone explained what the effects are for independence?
    Who will pay pensions?
    And unemployment benefits?
    And healthcare?
    Has anyone discovered oil in Catalunya?
  22. Report albert_catalan citizen | May 27 1:12pm | Permalink
    Some good information about the catalan process here:
  23. Report pabloguerez | May 27 12:46pm | Permalink
    Why the author focuses on internal Spanish regional problems and does not write about the boost of the genuine Link (Izquierda Unida - Izquierda Plural)? This subject should be commented.
  24. Report UseStatsRight | May 27 12:22pm | Permalink
    47.6% of electorate voted and you are drawing the conclusion that 80% of the people of Catalunya want a referendum let alone independence? a bit far fetched
  25. Report Roger_Cardedeu | May 27 12:18pm | Permalink
    We will vote the 9th of November because it is the will of more than 80% of Catalans. If the Spanish government prevents us from voting using the force, they will lose their last chance of keeping Catalonia within Spain. But probably, they are so stupid that they will try to...
  26. Report UseStatsRight | May 27 12:18pm | Permalink
    55% of voters.... but isn't the question how many out of the electorate actually voted?
  27. Report umpah !!*!! | May 27 12:11pm | Permalink
    excellent Eduard !
  28. Report umpah !!*!! | May 27 12:05pm | Permalink
    Although the results the spanish government says that independence vote has not increased.
    They don't give a chance to democracy. We claim in the streets and speak in the pools and all we receive from spanish government is no from nothing, is no from no way.
    If catalans can not loosely and democratically decide our future, it means Europe hasn’t learned from history.
    And this and much more is happening in XXI century in our old Europe !
  29. Report Eduard | May 27 12:01pm | Permalink
    The amount of Catalans that voted to hold a referendum is 77%, adding up all political parties that think it must be hold. People that voted to parties that are against it only added up to less than 18%. Most of our leaders come from university, talk more than 4 languages, some even 7 and have strong cultural background. That differs totally from spain. They are still waiting to be able to vote for a president that knows anything else that spanish or have any other degree that lawer or less.
  30. Report Johanes | May 27 11:54am | Permalink
    ERC, extreme? It has a very definite view on a new structure for the country, and a lot of bright people working on it, in a highly constructive way, but does having a plan and sticking to it make a party extreme these days?

    And comparing them with Ciutadans, the "anti" party who has no vision for Catalonia and no plans at all or even an infrastructure for itself?

    Sorry, FT, usually you get it, but with respect, this is not one of your brightest articles.
  31. Report madmax | May 27 11:39am | Permalink
    Absolutely agree with @Yogi Bear

    People is voting with their feet from Catalonia as the most probably this will end with independence (each new generation that is coming to their 18s has been educated under a system of lies that pushes Catalan over Spanish even in historic terms).

    The result will be independence, but will end with tears for catalans as they will lose 50% in the value of their assets (not to mention the low-quality of their politicians, as the 3% fee for corruption seems to be very extended)
  32. Report nicill | May 27 11:34am | Permalink
    This vote showed how things may have started to change in Spain as a whole. The two main parties fell from 80% support to 50%. And new parties emerged with great strenght.

    In Catalonia the process started much sooner (2010 or 2012 depending on who you ask). The victory achieved by ERC just comes to highlight a situation that was already there. The people in Catalonia have had enough of Spanish politics and there is a widespread feeling that the only thing that can be done is to become independent.

    While the media in Spain keep trying to ignore the facts, 2012 and 2013 saw the biggest demonstrations in Catalan history (with more than 10% of the population on the streets, possibly even more than 20%). All oppinion polls (and the two elections held Catalan 2012 and EU 2014) keep showing the rise in support for the independence movement. The Catalan branch of the Spanish socialist party has all but disapeared in Catalonia (from around 30% of votes to 14 in both elections, falling from 36 to 14 in the EU vote). The sum of anti-indepence parties remain consistenly around one third of the electorate (30% in these last elections).

    Spain is not under a crisis of its traditional parties but under a full-scale (slow) revolution. The economic crisis has showed the Spanish people how their governement is just there to grant privileges to a small minority. The fight against corruptin and the need for a real democracy have become very important for many people who feel robbed by the governing elite. The two main parties have showed very clearly how they prefer to fix their problems in private than to allow the citizens to decide, how you cannot let one single bank fail but you can sustain an unemployment rate close to 30% for years. The Catalan case is just another example (it is very sad to hear once and again in Spanish tv how it is "wanting to vote is against democracy" and similar displays of political inteligence.

    Spain is moving and Catalonia is way on its way to become an independent (and hopefully better) state. Please keep looking for us because we are going to need them. The Spanish elites have an army, most of the media and all the economic power and they will fight to maintain their privileges.
  33. Report Rufus | May 27 11:02am | Permalink
    Dear Investor, ignore the Yogi Bear silly advice. Investment in Catalonia is booming". The Barcelona area is a high tech environment and life there is what a young entrepreneur wants.
  34. Report Rufus | May 27 10:55am | Permalink
    The report is somewhat incorrect in that de difference between Convergència i Uniò (CiU) and the winner Esquerra Republicana (ER) is just about 1%. Moreover, for a party, CiU, which is in power and is taking all the stick for the cuts and financial adjustments, finishing just by 1% behind ERC is extremely good. Moreover too, ERC is a party in full support of CiU which has taken the lead and the stick, again, of facing Madrid for the consultation of 9th November (colloquially now known as "9N"). So ERC and CiU work hand in hand. Moreover 3(!). Esquerra Unida I Alternativa (greens etc) are all right behind the date and the question to be put to the Catalans the 9N. So, now, it is becoming evidently clear that, like in Scotland, the Consultation on 9N WILL TAKE PLACE. As Desmond Tutu said just a few days ago "you just cannot hang on to a Nation against their will". So this is a complementary picture and a bit of correction to your journalist report. Thank you
  35. Report Musso | May 27 10:44am | Permalink
    "a campaign dominated by the issue of independence"? Catalans are mad.
  36. Report Yogi Bear | May 27 10:06am | Permalink
    Dear Investor: Ignore the Catalan problem at your own peril.



Financial Times destaca que Catalunya ja es comporta (electoralment) com un país diferent


(ACN) “A nivell legal, els líders catalans encara han de trobar la manera de fer un referèndum d’independència. A nivell electoral, però, la regió ja sembla un país diferent”. Així comença un nou article del prestigiós diari britànic Financial Times, que aquest dimarts valora els resultats de les europees i destaca que els comicis “mostren el distanciament” entre Catalunya i Espanya. L’article, que signa el corresponsal Tobias Buck, explica que PP i PSOE “van patir grans pèrdues i s’han trobat empesos als marges de la política catalana”.
El text del Financial Times assegura que “el gran guanyador” dels comicis va ser ERC, i que CiU va mantenir-se “raonablement bé”. Així, subratlla que amb la victòria d’ERC, el president Artur Mas rebrà “més pressió política”. “Amb el suport creixent cap als secessionistes de línia dura, l’habilitat de Mas per fer un pacte d’última hora amb Madrid i evitar una col·lisió constitucional podria quedar severament limitada”, destaca el diari.
El corresponsal del rotatiu britànic també assegura que “no és només entre els independentistes que guanyen més suport els partits extremistes, sinó també entre els grups polítics que volen que Catalunya continuï sent part d’Espanya”. Així, cita per exemple Ciutadans, “un partit de dretes format recentment que s’oposa ferotgement a la independència i que ha obtingut un 6% dels vots, majoritàriament de votants del PP que volen que el partit que mana a Espanya apliqui més mà dura contra Barcelona”.
El rotatiu també destaca que el PP, tot i guanyar a Espanya, “va obtenir menys del 10% dels vots catalans” i ara és “només la cinquena força” a Catalunya. “Els socialistes, que durant dècades van mirar a Catalunya com un dels seus bastions polítics, van guanyar només el 14% dels suports, caient des del 36% del 2009”, diu el text.

No comments:

Blog Archive