CARLES CASTRO – 01/17/2021
A table with ballots during the last autonomous elections of Catalonia Vicenç Llurba
What do the Catalans want? Everybody seems to know. And some even proclaim it to the four winds. But in practice nobody knows; not even the Catalans themselves, divided by the identity trench but also by multiple perceptions and preferences about what they consider best for Catalonia. Does that mean that the Catalan conflict has no solution? The latest GAD3 poll for La Vanguardia reflects the enormity of the challenge, but draws the outputs that are hidden under the numbers.
On the surface, the global data is very daunting. Asked about the preferences in a bilateral negotiation with the State to resolve the territorial dispute, the Catalans are divided into five groups. One in ten does not speak; A similar percentage prefers to draw up a new Statute, and then there are three groups of similar magnitudes: 28% bet on a new model of territorial financing, another 27% want to hold a referendum on self-determination and, finally, 24% favor the Constitutional reform.
From there, it is easy to conclude that the conflict has no solution. The Spanish Constitution does not admit the self-determination of a territory – which closes the way to a referendum – and, furthermore, its reform is impossible with the current political map. In other words, there is no two-thirds majority in Congress that can agree to a constitutional change in the territorial sphere. And that means that 51% of Catalans demand something that they cannot obtain.
At the same time, the possible positions (new financing or reform of the Statute) bring together less than 40% of the citizens of Catalonia. And that percentage is too far from the majority consensus that demands an effective solution to the Catalan conflict.
The sovereign voter has as a priority the consultation, and the rest, the abandonment of the process
Pessimism is further accentuated if positions are observed by groups of voters. Among those who oppose independence, preferences are divided between improving financing (the majority position) and constitutional reform (which would be the second most supported option). And the problem is exacerbated on the other side of the identity spectrum, since around 20% of the voters of ERC, Junts or the CUP would support the constitutional reform and between 50% and 60% of the voters of Junqueras or Puigdemont , the referendum. That is, more than 70% of the sovereign electorate would choose unviable options.
Do these figures mean that there is no meeting point and that citizens do not agree on any alternative?
The answer is found in another of the questions in the survey: the preferences on the territorial strategy of the Government after the Catalan elections, in the event that the independence movement reissued its current majority. Obviously, the first preference of the voters opposed to independence would be that the sovereign parties forget about the procés and limit themselves to managing the current powers. And the first preference of the voters of ERC, Junts and the CUP should be to hold a referendum.
However, the first preference of Esquerra voters is not the referendum but the improvement of funding. And although the consultation is a priority for the voters of Junts and the CUP, their support for this option does not reach 50% of those consulted. Instead, and this is the most important thing, the second preference (if not the first) for the whole of the voters (favorable or opposed to independence) is the improvement of the financing. That could be the meeting point.
All voters have a first or second preference to improve funding. A new funding model would have the backing of half of ERC voters and one-third of Junts voters, well ahead of that of a new DUI. And although as a second preference it achieves modest figures among voters opposed to secession, as a solution to the conflict in a bilateral pact it has the support of 40% of socialist voters and almost 50% of those of the PP or Cs. That could be the way out when everyone agrees that the time for agreement has come.