The Centre d'Estudis d'Opinió (CEO) has just published its third 2022 barometer of political opinion in Catalonia, which has as its main point of interest the impact made by Together for Catalonia (Junts) when it left the Catalan government after the decision taken by its membership on October 7th, and executed on Monday 10th. As could have been expected, despite the enormous resistance by some to facing reality, the party led by Laura Borràs and Jordi Turull will not find any good news in the CEO opinion poll and, on the contrary, a marked electoral setback would be evident if there were to be a Catalan election now. In fact, the major beneficiary of the breakup of the pro-independence government is the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), and its leader Salvador Illa, who breaks the technical tie with the Republican Left (ERC) and gains some distance at the head of the bunch.
For the first time in a survey, the possibility that Catalan independentism will not form the government is not just a hypothesis, but rather, the numbers may make it impossible for ERC, Junts and the CUP to obtain a majority in Parliament, even if they were to agree. It is true that only a year and a half of the legislature has passed, but given the fragility of the Catalan executive - it only has the support of the 33 Republican Left deputies - it can be seen as very probable that in 2023, most likely in the second half-year, there will be elections in Catalonia. The poll includes some really surprising findings, such as the rating of the Catalan government by ERC voters themselves, which does not exceed 4.6 out of 10. A particularly low figure given that the party holds 100% of the ministries. This fail grade for the government is seconded by all the Catalan parties, with the paradox that Catalans rate their own government at 3.48, practically the same score they give to the Spanish executive of Pedro Sánchez (3.47).
In view of the survey, the big question is how ERC and Junts could have got to the point of governmental rupture, with both being satisfied with the decision taken and yet the consequence that both are worse off? Because if you listen to either of them, those who remain in power are more than satisfied to have got a party like Junts off their backs, claiming that unitary government action was simply unable to be seen because of the disagreements and, on the other side, Junts is acting like a kid with new shoes, learning how to act in opposition and trying to destroy the parliamentary initiatives that ERC seeks to push through. Both without realizing that the PSC, almost without doing anything, has placed itself at the centre of all debates, including, very clearly, that of the budget. The Republicans, who started out insisting they would make no concessions to the Socialists, and that before negotiating the public accounts with them it would be better to extend the previous ones, are making a high-speed U-turn, as they must have realised that it would be better to pass a budget with the PSC than to find that they could not move forward and end up having an unwanted Catalan election before the municipal elections. If you have to choose between bad and worse, the former is always better.
Illa seems to move in a vehicle with an extra engine, because nothing seems to slow it down, partly because the list of issues that concern Catalans has little or nothing to do with the pro-independence agenda, and is headed by the functioning of the economy (18.3%) and dissatisfaction with politics (17.5%), while only 3.8% consider the lack of autonomy or independence to be the most important problem for people in Catalonia. It is clear that 42% of Catalans, a very high percentage, are still in favour of Catalonia being an independent country - with 50% against - but the agenda of everyday problems, the Spanish state's repression, the economic crisis, energy prices, pessimism about the future and the war in Ukraine is gaining importance in the face of the inability of a straitjacketed independence movement without a realistic project to move forward.