Three women – Meritxell Batet, Inés Arrimadas and Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo – will fight for the leadership of constitutionalism in Catalonia in the general elections on April 28, in which they will seek to reverse the majority obtained in 2016 by pro-sovereignty referendum forces.
Of the 47 seats of the Congress that are at stake in the four Catalan districts, three years ago the commons (12), ERC (9) and the PDeCAT (8) totaled a total of 29 deputies, while the constitutionalist formations -PSC ( 7), PPC (6) and Cs (5) – they stayed at 18.
However, this time the polls pose a different scenario, in which the Socialists aspire to win the victory in Catalonia, following the positive dynamics of the PSOE at the state level since Pedro Sanchez arrived at the Moncloa.
The head of the PSC list for Barcelona, Minister Meritxell Batet, is very clear about what is the resurgence of socialism and exhibits the "service sheet" of the nine months of the Government of Pedro Sánchez in all its public interventions, considering it a anticipation of what is to come.
For the campaign prior to 28A, the holder of the Territorial Policy portfolio wants to articulate a discourse "in positive" and in favor of dialogue, which manages to regain voters who changed the red for the purple in 2016 and who attracted catalanistas disappointed after that ERC and PDeCAT blocked Sánchez's budgets, which contributed more resources to Catalonia.
For its part, Cs wants to rejuvenate the metropolitan area of Barcelona – previously known as the "red belt" for its traditional socialist vote – as it did in the regional elections of December 21, 2017, held after the unilateral declaration of independence in the Parlament.
That time, Arrimadas collected more than a million votes and was the first force in the Parliament, although there were no options to add a sufficient majority to be invested as president of the Generalitat.
Now, Cs intends to repeat the feat using the same recipe as then, placing headliner to Inés Arrimadas, which seeks to capitalize the vote of supporters more firmly against the independence movement, opening the door to a new application of Article 155 of the Constitution to dismiss the Government of Quim Torra and intervene in areas such as TV3, teaching or the Mossos.
In recent weeks, however, Arrimadas has appeared an equally vehement rival against the independence movement: Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, candidate of the PP for Barcelona, which often uses terms such as "xenophobia" or "supremacism" to describe the essence that In his opinion, he conceals "Catalan nationalism".
Both Arrimadas and Álvarez de Toledo focus a good part of their strategy on presenting themselves as guarantors of the unity of Spain in the face of a socialism they accuse of being willing to negotiate the territorial integrity of the country in exchange for the support of the independence groups in Congress, with the intention of repeating the majority of the motion of censure against Mariano Rajoy.
In this sense, sources of the PSC predict that the candidates of Cs and PP will be lavished in attacks on Batet, when in reality "they will be competing among them" for the same fishing ground of votes.
The origins of the three women who will command the constitutionalist candidacies in Catalonia have little in common: only Batet was born in Barcelona, Arrimadas grew up in Jerez (Cádiz) and Álvarez de Toledo grew up on horseback between Madrid, London and Buenos Aires.
His life experiences are also different: Batet suffered an eviction as a teenager and needed scholarships to study; Arrimadas, daughter of a former UCD scientific police officer, represents the middle class, and Álvarez de Toledo comes from a wealthy family, descendant of the aristocracy.
The 28th electoral debates in Catalonia will have a fourth female voice, that of the pro-independence Laura Borràs, who does not lead the JxCat list but who, in practice, as number two, will be the main voice of her candidacy, since the head of the list, Jordi Sànchez, remains in preventive custody and faces the trial of 'procés' in the Supreme Court.
By Marta Vergoñós