Catalonia’s Far Left Could Hold the Key to Independence

If left-wing parties change sides, there would be a clear majority for independence from Spain.

Mayor Ada Colau and members of the Barcelona city government attend a demonstration, October 13
Mayor Ada Colau and members of the Barcelona city government attend a demonstration, October 13 (Ajuntament Barcelona)

Catalonia’s far left could hold the key to independence after the next regional election.

Snap elections are likely in the next few months, whether called by the regional government to preempt the suspension of home rule or by the Spanish government once home rule is suspended

Polls suggest the ruling center-right European Democratic Party (PDeCAT) will trade places with its junior partner, the Republican Left.

But the balance between pro- and anti-independence parties could be unchanged — unless Catalonia in Common (Barcelona mayor Ada Colau’s party) and Podem (the Catalan branch of Podemos) change sides.

Moving into the separatist camp

Catalonia in Common and Podem support Catalan self-determination but have so far opposed breaking away from Spain.

Their leaders nevertheless attended a demonstration in Barcelona this weekend for the release of separatists Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez and against the implementation of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution.

The fact that it is Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party, which the far left considers a remnant of the Franco era, that is invoking this never-before-used provision to sack the Catalan government makes it all the more likely they will eventually join the separatists.

If they do, there would be a comfortable majority for secession in the next regional parliament.

Spooked Democrats

That is assuming President Carles Puigdemont’s Democrats don’t blink.

The left suspects the pro-business party only converted to the independence cause in order to shift blame for the 2008 economic crisis to Madrid.

Rajoy’s willingness to use force to disrupt the October 1 referendum and a subsequent exodus of companies from the region has spooked senior Democrats.

Puigdemont’s predecessor, Artur Mas, has warned that Catalonia isn’t ready for independence.