Left-wing victory in Catalunya’s municipal elections and increase of self-determination representatives

CATALAN NEWS AGENCY – Vote for pro-independence parties CiU, ERC and CUP rises from 33% (2011) to 45% (2015)

The municipal elections in Catalonia have resulted in five major highlights. First of all, the overall victory of left-wing parties, in a context of a gradual economic recovery after 7 years of economic crisis, with high unemployment levels, lower salaries and corruption scandals. Secondly, parties clearly supporting Catalonia’s self-determination process significantly increase their representation and electoral support, while those opposing Catalonia’s self-determination lose both representatives and votes across the board. Thirdly, there has been a major change in the Catalan capital’s City Council, with alternative-left and green coalition Barcelona en Comú overtaking by a close margin the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, which runs the Catalan Government. Four, except for Barcelona, the governing parties in the main Catalan town halls resist, although almost all of them have their support reduced. Finally, the main traditional parties register significant loss of support while secondary parties improve their results and enter many city councils for the first time. Two parties enter a number of town halls for the first time: anti-Catalan nationalism party Ciutadans (C’s) and radical independence and alternative left party CUP. Turnout in Catalonia was 58.5%, while in 2011 it was 55%.

Looking at the overall results for Catalonia, with 99.61% of the votes counted, the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU has once again won the elections, both in the number of votes and elected representatives. It was the first time that the CiU was running in this type of election clearly supporting Catalonia’s self-determination process and with many of its leaders strongly supporting independence (although a few of them are also opposing it). The CiU obtained 21.52% of the vote, while in 2011 it received 27.12%, going from 778,600 votes to 667,700 (a difference of 110,900 votes). This loss of support is reflected in the number of elected representatives in the city councils and town halls, which drops from 3,865 councillors to 3,324. However, the CiU has absolute majorities in some 36% of Catalonia’s 947 existing municipalities and is likely to lead the local government in almost half of all the municipalities. In many others, it may not lead the local government, but it will be part of governing coalitions.

Socialists go down, republican pro-independence go up

The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which used to be Catalonia’s main party at municipal level in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, in terms of the number of votes, has significantly lost support but has resisted a bit better than some polls had predicted. The PSC has gone from 25.13% of the vote in 2011 to 17.06% in 2015, going from 721,500 votes received to 529,400, a reduction of 192,100 votes. Despite losing support, it has resisted quite well in Barcelona’s Metropolitan Area, which is formed by many small cities. It has managed to retain important town halls throughout Catalonia (such as Tarragona and Lleida) but has lost some support. However, the PSC has lost a large share of its support in rural areas, mostly because of its opposition to Catalonia’s self-determination process. The consequence of this is that the PSC has gone from having 2,115 councillors to having 1,278, a drop of 837 representatives.

The social-democrat Catalan independence party ERC has become the third-largest party at municipal level, quite close to the PSC in number of votes and overtaking the Socialists in number of councillors. The ERC has increased its support throughout Catalonia, significantly improving its results in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area and small cities, but also in rural areas. It has gone from 8.98% to 16.4%, from 257,700 votes in 2011 (which was a quite poor result for them) to 508,800 votes with 99.61% of the votes counted. This is an increase of 251,100 votes. Their number of councillors has also grown significantly, growing from 1,377 to 2,381 representatives, an increase of 1,004 seats. The ERC has returned to important City Councils where it used to be present and has increased the number of town halls it will run.

The Catalan green and post-communist coalition ICV-EUiA has run in many municipalities in coalition with other parties, such as in the Catalan capital, where it ran within Barcelona en Comú. This force has won the elections in the Catalan capital by a close margin and is likely to govern the city. The ICV-EUiA has resisted in the main town halls it has historically ran (such as El Prat del Llobregat) and has increased its representation in some towns where it was running through an electoral coalition. However, in some important cities it has also seen its support decrease, since many voters have voted other alternative left coalitions or parties. Overall, the ICV-EUiA and the coalition in which it was running have gone from 8.43% of the vote in 2011 to 11.8% in 2015, from 242,000 to 366,000 votes, 124,000 more than in 2011. However, it has seen its number of elected representatives drop from 400 to 358, a difference of 42.

Unionist side: PP and Ciutadans

The People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, comes in as Catalonia’s 5th party at municipal level in terms of number of votes and as the 6th when the number of representatives are calculated. The PP has dropped from 12.68% of the vote in 2011 to 7.49% in 2015, from 364,000 votes to 232,400, a difference of 131,600 votes. Its number of representatives has plummeted from 473 to 215, a loss of 258 seats. However, the PP resist in the two main town halls it was controlling: Badalona and Castelldefels, both in Barcelona’s Metropolitan Area.

The other party that totally opposes independence, Ciutadans (C’s), has been one of the main highlights of these elections in Catalonia, but also in the whole of Spain. C’s has gone from a marginal 1.22% of the vote in 2011 to a 7.43% in 2015, from 35,100 votes to 230,600 (an increase of 195,500). Furthermore, in 2011 it only had 7 elected representatives and now it has increased their number to 176, 169 more than last time around. It will now enter some very important town halls for the first time, such as in Barcelona and Tarragona. Furthermore, in Barcelona it has been the third most-voted party, just ahead of the ERC by 300 votes.

No room for extreme-right

The radical independence and alternative left party CUP has been another of the big surprises, greatly increasing both its number of votes and representatives. It has significantly improved its result in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, entering some City Councils, such as Barcelona’s, for the first time, and has become the first or second most-voted party in some towns in Catalonia, particularly in rural areas. They have gone from 2.16% of the vote in 2011 to 7.14% this year, from 62,200 votes to 221,600 (an increase of 159,400 votes). Furthermore, it has gone from having 101 representatives to having 372 (271 more than last time out).

Finally, as a side note, the xenophobic, Spanish nationalist and extreme-right party Plataforma per Catalunya (PxC), which was one of the big surprises in the 2011 elections, has seen their share of the vote drop. In 2011 it obtained 2.3% of the votes cast, 66,000 votes and 67 elected representatives. This time, it received 0.88% of the vote (27,400 votes and 8 representatives).

Picture: Ada Colau, from Barcelona en Comú, has won the elections in the Catalan capital (by ACN)

Original article: http://www.catalannewsagency.com/politics/item/left-wing-victory-in-catalonia-s-municipal-elections-and-increase-of-self-determination-representatives

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