Catalan parties prepare for 14 February election amid date confusion

Salvador Illa to step down as Spanish health minister on Tuesday to be Socialist frontrunner

VilaWeb / Catalan News Agency
25.01.2021 - 10:38
Actualització: 25.01.2021 - 11:38

Catalan political parties are already preparing for a 14 February election and drawing up campaign plans, despite the consensus among parliamentary groups being in favour of holding the vote on May 30. The date of the upcoming election has been subject to much confusion, as initially the February date was set before being postponed by a government decree as a result of the ongoing health crisis.

However, the Catalan high court then scrapped this delay on the grounds of legal technicalities over how the decree was written, and argued that public consensus is in favour of holding a vote that has been spoken about in the chamber for over a year already. The magistrates will consider arguments and challenges and will make a final decision on the election date before 8 February, potentially with the campaign already having started.

But in the meantime, parties are taking for granted that the earlier date will be kept, and as such are preparing their political strategies for the coming three weeks. The campaign will begin at 00:00 on 29 January.

Proindy majority at risk?

The pro-independence bloc is hoping to keep a hold of their majority in the parliament, something under threat given that the Socialists have been surging in polls ever since Spain’s health minister, Salvador Illa, announced he would run as the frontrunner for what is expected to be the biggest unionist party in Catalonia after the vote. Illa will step down as Spanish health minister on Tuesday, almost one month after having announced that he would lead the Socialists in the upcoming Catalan election. He has been minister throughout the Covid-19 public health crisis, and will leave the post amid the third wave of the pandemic.

The two coalition parties currently in government, Junts per Catalunya and Esquerra Republicana, have denounced a “state operation” orchestrated by the Spanish government and the Catalan high court to force the February date. However, neither JxCat nor ERC are considering a new decree or a government appeal. In fact, both parties have emphasised they are “prepared” for the earlier date set.

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