Catalan separatist parties have strengthened their majority in the regional parliament, enabling them to retain power in Catalonia following an election overshadowed by the pandemic. The candidate of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez narrowly won.
Away from politics, the polling marked the election administrators’ scenes in their white protective clothing as they oversaw the voting of people with COVID-19 in quarantine centers.
The results of counting more than 90 percent of the vote showed that Sanchez’s candidate, former Health Minister Salvador Illa, led about 23 percent of the vote and won 33 seats in the regional parliament composed of 135 deputies.
But Ella, whom Sanchez has nominated to break the secessionists’ hegemony over the power they have held since 2015, is still far from achieving his goal.
After the separatist parties pledged in a written document not to ally with him, Ella no longer had the margin of maneuver to enable him to obtain the necessary votes to form a governing coalition in the region in northeastern Spain, which has a population of 7.8 million.
After more than three years of trying to secede from Spain, differences between separatist parties and discontent among their grassroots have not resolved without strengthening their majority from 47.5 percent in the 2017 elections to more than 50 percent in Sunday’s elections.
With the “Republican Left” winning 33 seats, the “Together for Catalonia” party led by regional president Carles Puchimon 32 seats, and the “Candidate for Popular Unity” party nine seats, the separatist parties strengthened their parliamentary majority from 70 in the last elections to 74 seats.
But it will have to overcome its differences to form a governing coalition. And the “Republican Left” candidate, Perry Aragonith, appears to be the most likely to win the region’s presidency.
The region is currently governed by a coalition between the “Republican Left,” which calls for secession from Madrid, and the moderate “Together for Catalonia,” which supports Sanchez in the Spanish Parliament.