Antoni Gutiérrez-Rubí 4/2/2021
Image of 2018: The broken mirror of Catalan politics, internal divisions and fissures in the sovereignist and constitutionalist blocks. Pablo González Pellicer
Most of the forecasts for the 14-F elections coincide in predicting a strong abstention, due in large part to the difficulties caused by the pandemic and also to the collapse of emotional tension that characterized the December 2017 elections. They also coincide in pointing out the crystallization of two electoral blocks divided by the question of independence, with the worrying fact that this fracture corresponds, and also overlaps, with the different linguistic identity of the citizens. The forecasts also contemplate the possibility of two majorities, one pro-independence and the other of the left, showing the hypothesis of an electoral repetition.
In addition to the risk of a deep abstention, we must add the extremely high volume of undecided who can go from doubting who to vote for to wondering why and for what going to the polls and voting at all. This is the great democratic crossroads of the 14-F: that the mobilization and the reasons for voting – as an instrument to solve problems, decide futures, evaluate presents – are discouraged by a confusion of voters regarding the offers presented to them and the meaning and utility of voting, while the problems are so many and so deep. When the vote does not serve to resolve, it only serves to affirm. And there, only the most ideological feel concerned and summoned.
Most voters are aware that getting out of the hole requires broad and cross-cutting agreements
This democratic indecision is fueled by an electoral campaign locked in the logic of partisan politics, with musings about post-electoral pacts and vetoes and outdated accounts of unreal fictions. It is a parallel reality, at an almost abysmal distance from the daily life of citizens. The electorate can abstain or be undecided, if they believe that politicians are inhibiting their responsibility and their commitment to the common good.
The centripetal drift of Catalan politics, polarized around the question of independence, causes astonishment, leaving the old central space where electoral victories were disputed orphaned. A stupor that increases at the fact that approximately two thirds of public opinion want a cross-cutting solution to the current impasse.
Except for the most unrepentant sectors of the parties, most voters are aware that, in order to get out of the hole the country is in, broad and transversal agreements are necessary that stimulate with their example the collective effort that society is willing to make. Will the parties be able to break the ideological shields that imprison them, the mortal fear of making mistakes and rectifying to leave virtual reality and assume the task of facing a harsh reality that needs to be governed? That is the great doubt of the undecided.