Pro-independence parties in minority in Catalonia’s newly elected parliament

Catalan-only parties lose absolute majority for the first time

The pro-independence parties have lost control of the Parliament of Catalonia for the first time since the independence process that led to the 2017 proclamation began. Yesterday’s result left them with around 1.3 million votes, far from December 2017's all-time high of 2.1 million. Pro-autonomy, centre-left PSC emerges as the leading force in votes and seats for the first time in history, but the overall result draws difficult calculations for the pacts.

Eight parties will be represented in the newly formed parliament. The PSC will be the largest, with 42 seats (up from 33 in 2021). In second place, catch-all Junts will be the leader of the pro-independence bloc, with 35 (32 in 2021), in the face of the decline of centre-left Esquerra Republicana, which governed alone until now and has been left with 20 seats, 13 less than three years ago.

Centralist right-wing PP, with 15 seats, has recovered from its poorest result in history (3). Spanish far-right Vox keeps all its 11 seats. Completing the arch are the federalist left-wing Comuns Sumar, with 6 seats, the pro-independence left-wing CUP with 4, and Aliança Catalana, with 2, a party that places the Catalan far-right in Parliament for the first time.

Pro-independence bloc loses ground on the left

The two left-wing pro-independence parties (ERC and CUP) have declined to two decades ago levels. In 2003, ERC won 23 seats, a historic result for them at the time. The CUP did not run. The combined number of both parties reached 36 seats in 2017 and 42 in 2021. The presidential candidates of both parties, Pere Aragonès (ERC) and Laia Estrada (CUP) have admitted that the result is “bad” and that their parties will have to begin a reflection process.

The other side of the coin in the pro-independence bloc is the growth of Junts, which with the return of Carles Puigdemont as candidate for the Generalitat presidency has 35 seats and a clear advantage in this electoral segment. On election night, Puigdemont called on ERC to make another pact—as they did in 2021—to build another pro-independence majority government. But, unlike then, the pro-independence bloc lacks 68 seats, the figure that marks the absolute majority.

Madrid-referenced parties have combined absolute majority for the first time

PSC, PP and Vox have 68 seats for the first time in history. The three parties agree that the result of this election means that Catalonia has definitively “turned the page” of the independence process. According to the PSC, this opens a new era of “consolidating” Catalan autonomy and, in any case, introducing some elements of federalism in Catalonia-Spain relations. PSC candidate Salvador Illa has claimed leadership of the upcoming stage for himself and has expressed his willingness to form a government.

However, the scenario is complicated for the socialist leader, who will need agreements on several sides, whether to govern alone—he will need the support or abstention of more than one group—or in coalition—he would need the support, at the moment very unlikely, of Junts or both ERC and Comuns Sumar. It cannot be ruled out that a permanent deadlock could force another election in Autumn.