Three years ago in Inroads, I wrote that the Spanish government’s unwillingness to allow the Catalan population to decide its future had kept debate focused on whether they should have such a right rather than on independence per se.1
Since then, the debate has continued, with a new emphasis on whether Catalonia can become independent without any kind of agreement with Madrid. In the interval, as a result of the economic crisis, the increasing salience of the independence issue and a number of corruption scandals, support for Catalonia’s traditional moderate nationalist parties has shifted toward more extreme nationalist ones.
For most of its democratic history, Catalonia was governed by Convergence and Union (CiU), a centre-right alliance composed of two moderate nationalist parties which ran jointly in elections at all levels, winning between 31 and 47 per cent of the vote in regional elections between 1984 and 2012. Since then, CiU has become a marginal player on the Catalan political scene. A recent poll placed its successor party, the Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT), at 12 per cent.
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