A brief summary in English of those parties that currently have representation in the Catalan parliament and are standing for the elections to the Parliament of Catalonia on December 21st.
I will be updating this page with the latest polls predicting the results.
The poll above, published by La Vanguardia on December 10th 2017, shows that the pro-independence parties look likely to lose the absolute majority and ERC, Ciudadanos and JxCat are all virtually tied on around 30 seats.
A description of each of the Catalan political parties standing in the election follows below.
Esquerra Republicana (ERC) are a left-wing pro-independence party led by Oriol Junqueras, who is the candidate for the presidency of the Generalitat of Catalonia. The party dates back to the Second Spanish Republic in the 1930s and until the calling of the elections were part of the pro-independence coalition Junts pel Sí. Oriol Junqueras is currently in prison in Madrid for his involment in the referendum on Catalan independence on October 1st 2017. At the start of the electoral campaign, ERC were favourites to win the most votes out of the pro-independence parties but seem to have been slipping over the past few days.
Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) are a centre right pro-independence party led by Carles Puigdemont, who is currently president of the Generalitat of Catalonia for the coalition Junts pel Sí. JxCat's recent history is complex. They are the heirs of right wing Catalanist party Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC), who reformed as Partit Democràtica Europea de Catalunya (PDeCat), following a corruption scandal. PDeCat had little chance of doing well in the election and consequently, taking advantage of his personal popularity, Puigdemont has created his own list that uses party infrastructure but also includes independent candidates, such as Jordi Sànchez, president of the Catalan National Assembly. Puigdemont is currently in exile in Brussels, which although it means he might be unable to occupy his seat in Parliament, has significantly boosted his popularity amongst voters.
The Candidatura d'Unitat Popular (CUP) are a radical Left pro-independence anti-capitalist party, which governs in many places at municipal level. The CUP would declare independence unilaterally, leave the EU and NATO, and collectivise and cooperativise public services. Many people are attracted by their radical position on independence but worried about their leftism and they are expected to lose some of the 10 seats they won in the last elections. Candidates are not allowed to stand for more than one term of office so their best known politicians are not standing this time. Their candidate for the presidency is Carles Riera, who did not stand in the last election but substituted a CUP member who stood down in the last Parliament.
Ciudadanos (C's) means Citizens and they are a relatively new party, founded in Catalonia in 2006, to campaign specifically against the new Statute of Autonomy for Catalonia, which was what sparked off the Catalan independence movement in the first place. They are specifically anti-independence and pro-Spanish unity and are a modern neo-liberal version of the Partido Popular, who they are in direct competition with both at national level and in Catalonia. Their candidate, Ines Arrimadas, was leader of the opposition in the last Parliament and she looks set to occupy the same position in the next one because, even if C's are the most voted party, they are unlikely to be able to form a majority government although the result could be very close.
The Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya (PSC) is an affiliate of the Spanish socialist party PSOE and traditionally, along with Convergència i Unió, was one of the two main parties in Catalonia. PSC started becoming less Catalan about a decade ago, which can be seen from their unionist position in the current independence debate. However, in comparison with C's or PP, they are not perceived as taking a hard enough line and most and so are unlikely. Their leader and candidate for the presidency of the Generalitat is Miquel Iceta, a seasoned and highly experienced politician, who is somewhat lacking in charisma.
The Partido Popular (PP) is a Spain-wide party, currently governing Spain, that sprang from the roots of the Spanish hard-right during the Transition to Democracy in the late 1970s following the death of General Franco. They are a Spanish nationalist establishment party and oppose independence and any possibility of a referendum or any type of constitutional reform. The fact that they would greatly limit the autonomy of Spain's autonomous communities if they could makes them popular in the rest of Spain but a little extreme for the Catalan voter hence their generally poor results in elections. Their candidate for the presidency former Mayor of Badalona Xavier García Albiol is particularly hated by independence supporters and would have a very successful career as a stage villain in pantomime were he to give up politics.
Catalunya en Comú Podem are a coalition between a previous coalition of various far left parties and the Spanish far left party Podemos. They probably shouldn't be included amongst the anti-independence because they sit on the fence on the issue while claiming to be in favour of an agreed and binding referendum, which they know Spain will never allow. This means that a vote for Catalunya en Comú is effectively a vote against independence because they blow with the wind, which is generally in Spain's favour. They are eco-communists, who are very impressed by Venezuela's economic miracle and support mass immigration and bike lanes. Their candidate for the presidency is Xavier Domènech, who cries at emotional songs of rebellion, raises his fist in the air and then goes back to having no opinion on anything important five minutes later.
My prediction is that Carles Puigdemont's argument that he is the legitimate President of the Generalitat will lead to a late surge in votes for Junts per Catalunya, who will win the election with around 40 seats. ERC with around 20 seats will be forced to invest him as president and form part of a pro-independence coalition.
Ines Arrimadas will win around 30 seats as predicted and will consequently be the Leader of the Opposition and of the unionist bloc.