Last May 28, municipal elections were held in Catalonia and the rest of Spain. Elections for the government of the autonomous regions were also held in other parts of Spain. In a normally functioning democracy, municipal elections have little impact on national politics. But Spain is just not that, a normal democracy.
In the regional elections, the far-right Partido Popular (PP) came out as the big winner. It won in all autonomous regions where the socialists previously ruled. In Valencia, the PP won an absolute majority together with the outspoken fascist Vox party. The PP and Vox only needed two hours of consultation to reach a government agreement. Apparently, these brother parties only need half a word to understand each other.
Pedro Sánchez’s socialist PSOE ruling party suffered such a great loss that he called early elections to the Spanish Congress the following day. He thus hopes that the popularity of the PP, the historical rival of the PSOE, will not yet be enough to win this one too. The early elections will be held next July 23.
Municipal elections in Catalonia
In Catalonia, the municipal elections were particularly marked by the large absence of voters in favor of Catalan independence. Out of deep dissatisfaction with the political parties (JxCat, CUP, but especially ERC and its minority government of Pere Aragonès after the coalition partner JxCat left the government), which have not fulfilled their election promise to work for Catalan independence. They stayed at home or put a ballot paper from the referendum of October 1, 2017 in the ballot box, as a result of which the vote was declared invalid. As a result, ERC lost 300,000 votes, about one third of the votes it won in the municipal elections four years ago. However, Aragonès has decided not to call early elections or change strategy. While Sánchez calls early elections in the hope of being able to rule for another four years, Aragonès clings to his presidency fearing he will not be re-elected.
PSOE/PSC, not a political opponent but Catalonia’s enemy
The elected city council members had to reach an agreement last June 17 on who would become mayor. In many cities this has been a race against time in recent days. In addition, the independence parties have in many cases concluded agreements with the Catalan socialist party PSC at the municipal and provincial level.
The PSC is an integral part of Sánchez’s Spanish national PSOE governing party. Its president, Salvador Illa, was health minister during the COVID pandemic. Sánchez and the PSOE, together with the PP, are responsible for the Spanish intervention in Catalan autonomy following the referendum under constitutional article 155. This led to the illegal resignation of the Puigdemont government and the dissolution of the Catalan Parliament. Although this intervention has been formally lifted, everything indicates that it is still ongoing. Sánchez is also responsible for legal prosecutions through the Public Prosecution Service (he appoints the Chief Prosecutor himself, the former Chief Prosecutor was even a minister in his government) and the State Attorney who falls directly under his command. The Public Prosecution Service and the state lawyer use every opportunity to prosecute Catalan politicians nationally and internationally. In addition, Sánchez and his PSOE party are responsible for Catalangate, the massive Pegasus espionage of politicians, citizens and their lawyers who are in favor of Catalan independence. (The report of the PEGA committee of the European Parliament, edited by MEP Sofie In’t Veld, still is asking Spain for clarification.) The government agreements at municipal and provincial level that the Catalan independence parties conclude with the PSOE/PSC can therefore be regarded as betrayal of the Catalan cause and voter fraud against the citizens who defended the polling stations during the referendum.
State Operation Barcelona
In particular, the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona, attracts attention in the formation of the municipal council. The big winner was Xavier Trias of the JxCat party. Jaume Collbony of the PSC came in second. The voter is fed up with the mismanagement of the left-wing Comuns party under Mayor Ada Colau and she came third as a result. It is therefore obvious that Trias would be appointed as mayor of Barcelona. But in the last hour before the ultimatum, the PSC struck an agreement with its historic rival PP, which has managed to secure only two candidates in the city council. Colau has always promised that as a convinced left-wing candidate she would never, ever enter into an agreement in which the PP participates. But as is well known, little value should be placed on Colau’s election promises, so she joined the PSC and the PP in electing Collbony as mayor.
This is already the second time that Trias misses out on the mayoralty despite being the biggest favourite. The first time was eight years ago. Then, two days before the election, a police report appeared in the El Mundo newspaper that he had a bank account in Switzerland. A few days later, Trias was able to prove that this was a false accusation, but the elections had already been held. Later, Commissioner José Manuel Villarejo, head of the patriotic police brigade of the Policia Nacional, confessed that they had leaked a false report.
Four years ago, Ernest Maragall, of the ERC independence party, was the most elected candidate. Then the oh-so-left Colau won the mayoralty thanks to the vote of the far-right Manuel Valls, who, as France’s interior minister, was convicted by the European Court of Human Rights for illegally deporting gypsies.
After Collbony’s appointment, PP president Alberto Núñez Feijóo said that his party has been working from Madrid on his appointment: “The PP has acted with a sense of state and looking for the best for our country, for Barcelona and for Catalonia. We acted responsibly and it is a victory for the Spaniards.” The appointment of the mayor of the Catalan capital, like the composition of the Catalan Parliament (where parliament president Laura Borràs was recently ousted for alleged forgery), is therefore a Spanish state operation in which the vote of the citizens is of secondary importance.
It appears that the Spanish unionist parties, including the relatively young and leftist Comuns / Podemos party, are putting aside their ideology when it comes to preserving Spanish unity. The argument of the left parties to vote for them in the upcoming Congressional elections to stop fascism is therefore false. It is not about the battle between the left and the right, but about a political conflict between Castile and Catalonia, between nation and nation.