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Catalonian parliament holds regional elections


Catalonian parliament holds regional elections

Photo: AP Photo

Regional elections will be held today to elect Catalonia’s 13th parliament.

One hundred and thirty-five parliamentary seats will be voted on in what observers view as a showdown between the pro-union movement, led by the Socialist People’s Party of Catalonia (PSC), and pro-independence movement, fronted by the centre-left Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the centrist Junts Party.

For the first time in almost ten years, debate over potential Catalonian independence has not been the heart of discourse. Instead, healthcare and the economy have taken centre-stage as Catalonia has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

PSC’s decisions to install former Spanish health minister Salvador Illa as leader and focus its campaign on expanding healthcare has garnered widespread support. Junts, PSC and ERC are each polling at around 20%. Observers expect the overall vote to be split evenly between pro-union and pro-independence parties. If PSC forms a government, expect an increase in coordination with Madrid to expand vaccine availability and boost healthcare funding. Pro-independence parties have struggled to agree on a unified response to the pandemic and if elected will likely be slow in announcing a formal policy.

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