Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Good luck Catalonia

Catalonia goes to the polls tomorrow night (NZ time) in regional elections forced by the Spanish government. Madrid's plan was to force elections, then prevent pro-independence parties from running by jailing their leadership and banning displays of support (it is illegal to display the colour yellow or the word "democracy" because these are seen as advertisements for "seditious" parties). But despite this, pro-independence parties have a solid lead in the polls. While the exact structure of the government will depend on the coalition process, if the polls are accurate and the election results are allowed to reflect the popular will, the result will be another pro-independence government with a reinforced mandate.

Of course, this being Spain, a country where the government beats people in the streets to stop them from voting, those things are not guaranteed. Neither is Madrid respecting the election outcome and allowing a newly-elected pro-independence government to take office. But if it cheats or ignores the elections, it will show even more clearly that it is no longer a democracy in any meaningful sense. And if that happens, the European Union should act immediately to restore democratic norms.