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There are only two possible reasons why, well into the 21st century, an institution of the importance of Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce should take five days (five!) to provide the results of an election in which over 17,000 people voted: incompetence or a desperate attempt to manipulate the results. The state of shock of the Barcelona Upper Diagonal establishment after the resounding failure of its candidate, Carles Tusquets, doesn't justify delaying to this Monday afternoon (when voting ended on Wednesday) the announcement of the official results which saw an overwhelming victory for the pro-independence organisation ANC. The ANC took 32 of the 40 seats which were directly elected, giving it an absolute majority among the 60 members that make up the Chamber's leadership.

But there's more: Enric Crous, the candidate that the establishment labelled pro-independence with the intention of discrediting him, would have won 26 seats ahead of 11 for Tusquets if the ANC hadn't stood. Certainly that would have been a softer defeat for the Upper Diagonal, unlike what's happened with the ANC's landslide victory, but in practice, a lot of those who have taken advantage of the institution as if it were their own private estate would still have had to leave.

It's to be hoped that, when the results are formalised this Monday, no arrangements have been made behind closed doors and power is transferred to the winners as quickly as possible: they have a huge task ahead of them. If this isn't the case, which would be quite the scandal, the Catalan government should respond with authority to any last minute surprise. The Chamber needs to become more democratic urgently, it needs to increase participation in decision-making and to become more professional in the service of Catalan business to contribute to the role entrusted to it which it's let slide.

Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin defined well the Chamber's role as a lobby, now it has to set about doing so in service of the majority of Catalan companies, something it's never done before. The ANC, and by extension the independence movement, without quite planning to, have an opportunity which is unique, decisive and much more important than many can imagine. Otherwise, why would there be such nerves and such haste in so many offices?

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