by Xavier Salvador
Pedro Sánchez is a cork. As much as they press to sink it, it always floats. It is proven that this politician has more lives than a feline. He is the undisputed winner of the elections and nothing could be objected in view of the final outcome. After this reflection, Spain now opens an interesting period in which the geometries of agreements, alliances and / or pacts will be as indispensable as variables for the immediate future. Negotiation for which the PSOE has free hands to establish political marriages with whoever wishes and without the heavy mortgage of the independence movement.
In a Catalan perspectiove, the victory of Sanchez has an additional reading. His triumph at the polls is the final blow to the procés. The Catalan independence movement is irrelevant in future parliamentary arithmetic. That is so if analyzed jointly. If the results are interpreted individually, the two million pro-sovereignty followers who claimed to promote the constitution of a state of their own just a few months ago are by now far away. Whatever the perspective, hundreds of thousands have disappeared, preferring to give their support to the PSC and abandon the sentimental nationalist cause.
ERC is the winner of the general elections in Catalonia. It sums more than 300,000 votes added to those obtained in 2016; it goes from 9 to 15 MPs in Madrid and, above all, replaces the old Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (today transmuted into a radical and unrecognizable Junts per Catalunya) in the representation of the nationalist cause in Madrid. The list construed from Belgium by the fugitive Puigdemont and headed by the defendant Jordi Sánchez receives a good and clear political blow. Oriol Junqueras, who decided to stay and face the responsibility of justice, has overturned his independence co-adventurer and already assumes the leadership of that spectrum.
The constitutionalist political forces add more votes than all the formations that defend secession. Even if you add the ballots of the CUP spin-off, the so-called Front Republicà, or even if the branch of Pablo Iglesias in Catalonia (En Comú Podem) is considered partially or totally pro-sovereignty, of the more than four million Catalans who have voted (almost 78% of the census) the vast majority are not supporters of independence. Moreover, neither of the referendum nor of certain dialogue options.
For a long time Catalan nationalism was not so irrelevant in the Spanish Parliament. Do not confuse, however, with Catalan politics, which provides a good number of MPs for the four districts, but bear the stamp of the PSC, En Comú Podem, Popular Party, Citizens and, curiously, even a representative of Vox.
It is possible that, after the initial effervescence, the ERC representatives notice that, despite their victory, they could only take its Gabriel Rufián for a walk around San Jerónimo street with no other occupation than the performances to which he has accustomed us. Sanchez will not need their support, unless the republicans effectively assume the possibilist and pragmatic profile of yesteryear of the pujolismo to reconstruct its slow way towards the independence. As some would say, a 2.0 reprint of the peix al cove [a bird in the hand]. Only in this way will the socialist leader allow himself to sit at the same table. And, on the other hand, any dialogue to which the MPs of the independence movement appeal will not be vitiated by their previous position of strength. The same nationalism that allowed to change the government’s presidency in the vote of no confidence or that ended up forcing Sanchez to call elections because of its opposition to the budgets today does not have any point of support for its political leverage. If they are more or less marginalized in the Parliament, this will depend on the generosity of a Sanchez who has experienced in this campaign the difficulties of approaching the secessionists before the eyes of all the Spaniards and who has the option of proximity to Citizens, even though his bases were calling for a ‘no’ that could be a ‘yes’, as long as it suits.
The independence movement is not the only one injured in Catalonia because of the election results of these elections. The Popular Party loses a whopping five seats won in Catalan lands. The effect of Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo has amounted to that, to herself. The neo-comumnists that Jaume Asens has led have lost five other MPs in the stake. They stop being the first political force, just to be relegated to the third position. That happens, in addition, in the runway of a municipal election in which everything seems to indicate that its main political asset, the mayor Ada Colau, will lose the stick of command of Barcelona for the exhaustion that her policies and gestures have caused in the citizenship. A review of the electoral results that occurred yesterday in Barcelona suggests that the leadership of the capital will be played between Ernest Maragall (ERC) and Jaume Collboni (PSC), instead of a Colau who has lost all citizen credit and a party in clear decline both in Barcelona and Madrid.
The great triumph of the socialist leader is not in the ending of the PP as a national conservative party, not even in winning the largest number of seats. No, his great virtue has been that kind of false political immolation that led us to the general elections, which have cleared several adversities at once: a thirsty and insatiable nationalism, to which he has given the coup de grâce for a few years and made it useless without profiting even of an absolute majority, and a radical left that insists on emptying the pockets of the Spaniards with populist policies. Today they all depend on Sánchez (and his squire Iván Redondo).