The independence parties strengthened their majority in the regional parliament on Sunday and can remain in power in Catalonia after a poll marked by the pandemic and narrowly won by the candidate of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
Beyond politics, the image of this election will remain that of the auditors holding the polling stations, protected by all-white overalls, to vote for voters with Covid-19 or in quarantine.
A winner with no room for maneuver
After more than 90% of the ballot papers had been counted, the former Minister of Health Salvador Illa took first place with around 23% of the votes and 33 of 135 seats in the regional parliament.
Sent by Pedro Sanchez to remove the separatists from power they have occupied in Barcelona since 2015, he remains very far from his goal.
While the separatist parties have pledged in writing not to seal an agreement with him, Salvador Illa has no leeway that would allow him to count on the votes necessary to rise to the presidency of this rich northern region. – Most of Spain with 7.8 million inhabitants.
More than three years after attempting secession, however, the separatists were not punished by their deep divisions and the disillusionment of their base, and in the last elections in 2017 they won more than 50% of the vote against 47.5%.
And with 33 seats for the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), 32 for the Ensemble pour la Catalogne (JxC) of former Regional President Carles Puigdemont and 9 for the radicals of the CUP, they strengthened their majority with 74 seats against 70.
They must now overcome their differences in order to seal a government agreement. ERC candidate Pere Aragones, who arrived before JxC, appears to be in a strong position to become the next regional president.