Verónica Fumanal Callau,
September 19, 2021
PSOE, ERC and Unidas Podemos have moved from the political space they occupied during the decade of the ‘procés’ to configure a new ‘cleavage’ in Catalonia.
In Catalonia, politics has been placed in a new scenario and the logic that guided the behavior of political parties, what in political science we know as ‘cleavage’, have changed. If from the Transition until 2010 the governments were based on an ideological logic, the decade from 2010 to 2020 was the national cleavage that marked the configuration of the Generalitat. But the decade of the ‘procés’ is over.
At present there is a new axis of electoral confrontation that, although it still does not guide the logic of the configuration of the Catalan governments, it is marking the positioning of the parties, and votes such as that of the Parliament in favor of dialogue or the bilateral table itself prove it.
This new stage marked by a new axis divides the parties between centripetal and centrifugal: the former, those who seek and risk a rapprochement between different positions to achieve a dialogue in the center of the political scene; the second, those who seek to continue to stress positions so that the agreement is not possible and make it profitable at the polls.
Catalonia, traditionally, has been a land of double electoral cleavage: ideological and national. Both were activated according to the electoral contest and the historical period that we analyze. From the first democratic elections until 2010, the Catalan governments always maintained an ideological line as the guiding axis.
From 1980 to 2003 it was the conservative CiU Governs who, sometimes supported by the PP, managed to maintain a political action based on criteria of the nationalist center-right. From 2003 to 2010 it was the so-called tripartites or left-wing Governs who ruled the community. As can be seen in both configurations, conservative or progressive, there was always a mixture of pro-sovereignty and non-nationalist parties united by the ideological axis that prevailed in the governmental configuration.
After the ruling of the Statute, the ideological axis was diluted for the benefit of the national axis. In the decade from 2010 to 2020, the configuration of the governments of the Generalitat has prioritized the union of the pro-sovereignty-independence bloc over ideological issues. The union became so strong that even, you will remember, there was a joint list of former Convergents and Republicans who had traditionally been absolutely incompatible, not only for ideological reasons, but also because of the 3% stain that persecuted the heirs of Jordi Pujol.
However, the so-called ‘procés’ diluted all these discrepancies for a common goal: independence. After the events of 2017, where the climax of the ‘procés’ was reached, the configuration of the political space is moving towards a new time. At present, the so-called ‘procés’ can be considered finished, although it should not be confused with the wishes of many people who still consider that independence is the best solution for Catalonia.
I am talking about the ‘procés’ understood as the period between 2010 and 2020, in which, in Catalonia, the only existing ‘cleavage’ was the dichotomy between independence yes or no, an era that began with the demonstration headed by the ‘president’ José Montilla in defense of the Statute and which has ended with the imprisonment and pardon of the leaders on October 1, 2017.
Socialists, Republicans and Purples (Unidas Podemos) have moved from the political space they occupied during the decade of the ‘procés’ to configure a new ‘cleavage’ in which they are not united by the ideological or the national, but a real will to get closer to those who used to be branded more as enemies than as adversaries.
The members of each group
In the group of centripetals are those who made possible the implementation of art. 155 (PSOE), those who forced a DUI (ERC) and those who always defended a referendum (Unidas Podemos). In addition to these parties, there are others whose sensitivity towards territorial conflict has always been high, such as PNV, Más País, BNG and Compromís.
In the group of centrifugals are those who have not moved from the positions they held during the ‘procés’, who have not advanced because they are not politically interested: PP, Vox, Cs, Junts and CUP. These parties do not share either ideology or national positioning, but they do share a nostalgic immobility of a decade that will go down in history as one of our most shameful chapters for Catalonia and for the whole of Spain.
The epilogue of the ‘procés’
Nothing guarantees electoral revenue to the protagonists of the centripetal space. All have had to crawl from the comfort of their trenches into an unknown and terribly thorny space from the point of view of the argument of four years ago. Neither ERC nor PSOE pass the newspaper library test sitting at a bilateral table with those who were previously just on the other side of the dichotomous board.
However, the objective of coexistence and the harmonization of the discrepancy is so noble that, at least, we would have to recognize the courage to write the epilogue of the ‘procés’, which at the same time is the prologue of a new stage for Catalonia in Spain.