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The campaign for the 21st December Catalan election will be the most decisive of all those for any election ever held in Catalonia. Never have so many things been so in doubt: who will come first, who will end up forming a government or whether the election will have to be repeated facing the impossibility of forming a stable parliamentary majority. The week of campaigning has left a few things clear, but none of them definitive, which gives an extraordinary importance to the remaining seven days of campaigning which will end up deciding on one situation or the other. Two of these should be highlighted: first, the consistency of Ciudadanos, the anti-independence party who came second last election, who aren't losing strength as the days go by. Their ability to attract a large proportion of the anti-independence vote, especially from prime minister Rajoy's PP, is pushing the party, led by Albert Rivera and Inés Arrimadas to the top and, for the moment, it's bearing up to the vertigo of such an important position.

Second, the importance of imprisoned vice-president Oriol Junqueras to ERC's (Catalan Republican Left) campaign. Although the Republicans have a line-up of well-known faces, from secretary general, Marta Rovira, to Justice minister Carles Mundó, and Congress deputies Joan Tardà and Gabriel Rufián, what is certain is that nothing can currently substitute Junqueras' leadership. He's not the candidate the most comfortable with the media, but, on the other hand, he more than makes up for it with his unpretentious, easily understandable rhetoric. ERC haven't found the magic solution to his absence and, moreover, they are the target of the great majority of the attacks from the other parties. Their situation, whilst not exactly symmetrical, isn't very different to the one facing president Carles Puigdemont in that, although he can speak from Brussels by video link or through interviews, the impact is never the same.

The fourth of our tracking polls, published by El Nacional today, far from dispelling this unknowns, refocuses them. The impact of the Brussels demonstration last Thursday gave wings to the whole pro-independence bloc, especially to Puigdemont's Junts per Catalunya. Five days later this effect has partly reduced and it seems clear that the pro-independence side has a certain need to sound the alarm among its voters if they want to guarantee an absolute majority. If they don't manage to do so, the map of Catalan politics threatens to be enormously complicated and, for the first time, we can't count out a situation akin to that following the December 2015 Spanish election when no candidate had enough votes to be invested president and the vote had to be repeated in June 2016. It's not the main option, but it can't be discounted. It will depend on the mobilisation of the pro-independence and pro-union blocs in the last week.

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