Esqueira Republica records its second electoral heights in less than two months, dropping from the first Catalan power to third in Congress, behind the PSC, which is experiencing a strong rise, and Sumar. Yet it has two consolations, which are not deficient. Firstly, the Junts’ former partners could not snatch the baton of independence from him. Secondly, in the absence of a final count, the ERC could once again be a critical actor on which the formation of a progressive government and the continuity of Pedro Sánchez in Moncloa depend.
The dynamics of advantageous voting in the context of maximum polarization, as well as the separatist layoffs resulting from post-process disillusionment, have hit Oriol Junqueras’ party, which left, with 74% of the vote, six seats out of the 13 it won when it won the general elections in 2019. Results that will not only read in a Spanish key for the minority, but also for the minority government.
This was not an easy election for the Republicans. The early call decided by Pedro Sánchez caught them by surprise when they had just suffered a severe setback in the May 28 municipal elections. They lost 300,000 votes, one in three in favor. State Department spokeswoman Marta Vilalta recalled that, in her first assessment at the beginning of the night, when only opinion polls were known, she accused Pedro Sanchez of advancing the election for “partisan interests” without any interest, she said, endangering the gradual progress of his coalition government.
Vilalta described the decline in participation as “bad news” that worries them and “weakens Catalonia”.
The atmosphere at the Estació del Nord, where the ERC usually celebrates election nights, was a tense anticipation all night. Quite different, of course, from the euphoria that breathed four years ago in the same place, when in the 2019 general elections the party was caressing the sky, with Gabriel Ruffian also at the top of the list. For the first time since the transition, the ERC became the first Catalan group in Congress, while consolidating its leadership within the pro-sovereignty movement and, above all, establishing itself as the main political player on which Sanchez’s inauguration depends. The fifteen seats gained in April fell to 13 when the vote was re-run in November, but the ERC again won the election over the PSC.
The political moment was different, as the independence movement was still very mobilized. In April, they voted while the 1-O trial was in progress, while when they returned to the polls in November, not a month had passed since the Supreme Court ruling. Separatism has reached a historic high, with 23 deputies out of the 48 seats adding up to the four Catalan districts in Congress, 42% of the vote.
Four years later, all that difference has given way to disappointment and a bitter sense of defeat. Discontent directed at Spanish politicians is now being directed against pro-independence leaders as well. The united front between the ERC and the Junts was cracking until total collapse, last October, when the parties that followed the rapprochement left the government and left Aragon in the minority.
In these elections, the ERC’s pragmatic strategy was also under consideration, and its commitment to dialogue with the central government, which was criticized by Carles Puigdemont’s party. Although the Republicans described pardons or reforms of sedition and embezzlement as victories for their strategy against Juntes’ “no to everything”, they clearly accused the erosion of negotiations with the PSOE as well as the erosion of government action in Catalonia.
The Egyptian Red Crescent had a double battle front in the sovereign domain. In addition to avoiding defeat by Juntz, he faced an abstention campaign promoted by more radical independence circles. A proposal rejected by the rules of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) but which has penetrated hard, especially on social networks.
In an electoral context of extreme right-left polarization and with the threat of Vox’s far-right accession to government, it was also unable to counteract the logic of advantageous voting and stop the flight of left-wing voters. Everything indicates that he lost more votes to the PSC, and to a lesser extent to Soumar, than to Gonz, who actually lost one seat.