Catalonia heads to the polls on Sunday to elect the 135 members who will sit in the region’s 11th parliament. Billed as a plebiscite on independence, the vote will be the most important Catalan election since its parliament was first elected in 1980. Before the previous election (in 2012), the Catalan parliament adopted a resolution asserting “the right of the people of Catalonia to be able to freely and democratically determine their collective future through a referendum”. In the elections that followed later that year, the mostly pro-referendum parties – Convergence and Union (CiU), Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), Initiative for Catalonia Greens-United and Alternative Left (ICV-EUiA) and the the Popular Unity Candidature (CUP) – won the most votes and seats.
However, the CiU party of Catalonia’s president, Artur Mas, lost 12 seats, and he had to rely on the support of the ERC to secure the numbers needed to form a government.
Despite their differences, and diverging factions within, the pro-referendum parties were able to muster enough votes in 2013 to pass a declaration that affirmed Catalonia’s right to self-determination, and set forth the beginning of a process to call an independence referendum.
But Spain’s constitutional court declared the declaration void and unconstitutional.