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First they faced the disappearance of the Catalanist conservative party Unió Democràtica due to insolvency after its political defeat at the polls. Then there was their distancing from Ciudadanos and especially from the party's leader Albert Rivera. And there was also their anger with the Partido Popular, a party which they don't even consider a minimally useful tool. So now, the so-called Upper Diagonal, the Barcelona business elite, is about to give its blessing to the new political invention known as the Lliga Democràtica. An operation that comes into existence with only one objective: to prevent a pro-independence majority being achieved in the next elections to the Parliament of Catalonia. It is not exactly, right at the moment, an 'Operation Valls 2', although it has the same stamp and an identical goal, after the Manuel Valls manoeuvre gave them significant success in the city of Barcelona by winning enough city councillors - three - to make Ada Colau mayor again and deprive the election night winner, the pro-independence ERC candidate Ernest Maragall, of a prize he was ready to savour.

In this case, it is even easier for the elites that pull the strings in the Lliga Democràtica to digest all this, because the true beneficiary of the entire political movement that is being cooked up is Catalan Socialist leader Miquel Iceta, given that his PSC consolidated its position in the recent municipal elections, while Ciudadanos must now be considered a political formation in serious electoral retreat in Catalonia. The objective is none other than winning the 68 Catalan parliamentary seats needed to claim an absolute majority and to dethrone the independence movement, which is certainly difficult, because there aren't many such precedents in the Parliament of Catalonia, but, given the dispersion of the vote in comparison with majorities of more distant times, it could be achieved. With the exception of the 1980 election, there has always been a majority that was firstly regarded as Catalan nationalist and only from 2015 on, with the candidatures of JxSí and CUP, was this vote transformed into support for independence. 

Although there is apparently no electoral horizon in sight in Catalonia, there are many uncertainties which make it difficult to rule this out completely. Two very important examples: the issue of the Supreme Court verdict on the Catalan political prisoners, expected in October. Catalan president Quim Torra has begun to speak with the pro-independence parties and civil groups about this, but without any clear proposal on the table. Secondly, there is the question of the Catalan government budget, for which the Torra executive has not found the necessary parliamentary partner to move forward. Given that the last new budget was passed in 2017, a third year without a budget going through would be a blot that the opposition could draw attention to. Against the proposition for elections this year is the fact that there is a certain stability in the Torra government and that neither of the pro-independence associates, JxCat and ERC, have embarked on a path towards the winding up the legislature. On top of all this comes another factor of uncertainty: what does Quim Torra himself want? In the final instance, he is the one who can call elections.

The promoters of the Lliga Democràtica, on the other hand, are banking on a traumatic ending between the Catalan government partners which will precipitate the end of the legislature. And Manuel Valls? Well, it seems that he'll be there, but for the moment, he isn't. The pre-campaign, yet another, is taking its first steps.