Catalans set to vote in an election that could be a test for the separatist movement

Support us and go ad-free

Voting has started in Spain’s north-eastern Catalonia as 5.3 million voters are called to cast their ballots. It’s an election that will test the region’s secessionist movement.

Salvador Illa will lead the ticket of the Socialists’ Party of Catalonia. Until January, he was in charge of Spain’s coronavirus (Covid-19) response as its health minister.

A tight race

Illa is hoping to end the hold that pro-independence politicians have held in the regional parliament for the past decade.

Polls, however, predict a tight race. The Socialists will compete for votes with the two leading pro-secession parties, the left-wing Republic Left of Catalonia and the centre-right Together for Catalonia.

People line up to vote outside a polling station in Barcelona
People line up to vote outside a polling station in Barcelona (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

One of the goals of separatists is to maintain their slim majority of the Catalan parliament based in Barcelona. And another is to try to break the 50% barrier of the popular vote for the first time.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

The wealthy region, with its own language spoken alongside Spanish, has been the source of Spain’s biggest political crisis in decades. That was when separatist leaders failed in a 2017 secession bid, in defiance of court warnings that it was unconstitutional. Several of those leaders ended up in prison, while others fled to other European countries.

Coronavirus safety measures

With Spain still suffering from a post-Christmas spike in coronavirus infections, the vote is being held under strict health regulations. Voters must wear face masks, use the hand disinfectant provided at polling stations, and remain at least 1.5 metres apart while queuing.

Those particularly vulnerable are encouraged to vote between 9am and noon. The general population is supposed to vote from noon until 7pm. That leaves the final hour until polls close at 8pm for voters who are either infected or quarantined due to recent contact with an infected person.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. You might note that the reason for this election is the sacking of the Catalan president Quim Torra by the Spanish government and Judiciary who are one unit. Quim Torra was the voice of reason when Covid started last year and Spain doesn’t like competent politicians. The election has been timed by the Spanish government at peak Covid in the hope that Illa can win if enough people don’t turn up. Hopefully this will backfire.
      Also note that Illa’s record as health minister (re virus ) is about as good as Matt Hancocks.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.