Madrid Desk, Feb 12 (efe-epa).- Two weeks of rancorous political campaigning for the elections in Spain’s Catalonia region came to a close on Friday, two days before the electorate chooses a new parliament and local president.
There are nine candidates vying for the Catalan regional presidency but polls are predicting that no party will walk away with a solid majority in the 135-seat chamber. The political divide in Catalonia comes down between parties seeking independence from Spain and those who promote Spanish unity.
One of the key features of this election is the candidacy of Salvador Illa, who over the last year has been one of the most prominent faces of the Covid-19 response as the Spanish health minister, a member of the governing Socialist Party’s (PSOE) coalition cabinet.
Polling suggests he has boosted the outlook for the PSOE’s Catalan branch but he will still face close competition from pro-independence parties such as the Together for Catalonia (JxCat) and the Republican Left (ERC).
Ciudadanos, a party originally created to oppose separatist politics in Catalonia and currently the largest formation in the chamber in terms of seats, could shed some votes in Sunday’s election, according to polls.
The former Catalan regional president Quim Torra was removed from office in 2020 for violating election campaign laws when he ignored an order to remove insignia in support of jailed Catalan politicians and activists from public buildings.
His predecessor, Carles Puigdemont, remains in exile in Belgium since 2017. He fled charges of sedition for his role in the banned 2017 independence referendum. EFE/EPA