Over the past few years, unionist parties together with the Spanish government had been saying that the vast majority of Catalans, who support the unity of Spain, were being silenced by the Catalan ‘separatist’ government. They contended that pro-independence parties always tend to win an absolute majority in general elections because most unionists never participate in Catalan electoral contests due to the fact that they do not identify with Catalan politics.
This was the main reason why the Spanish administration called for snap elections: “To give citizens back their voice.” However, this myth, which has been spread by unionist forces across Europe for years, was debunked in the latest Catalan general elections held this past December 21st, which had the highest turnout in Catalonia’s history: 82%.
Pro-independence parties (JxCat, ERC, and CUP) not only validated their absolute majority of seats in Parliament (70), but got more than 2 million votes: 100,000 more than in the previous elections held in 2015. As if that were not enough, the support for independence parties grew more in areas traditionally considered unionist.
Despite that the results were clear and showed that most Catalans actually support the independence of Catalonia, unionist parties won’t easily recognize them because the only “mantra” that they have been able to use to fight pro-independence parties was to suggest that “There was a silent majority that supported their cause.”
To that end, the leader of the major Catalan unionist party Ines Arrimadas (C’s) is now advocating for the independence of Barcelona and Tarragona from Catalonia: so-called “Tabarnia.” According to her, the unionist “silent majority” only remains in Barcelona and Tarragona. That, even though Barcelona’s voters mostly voted for non-unionists parties in the latest elections. This is, therefore, a new “mantra” directed to destabilize the independence movement and bring confrontation to Catalan streets. While this unionist strategy may make some noise on an international level for a while, this will also exasperate an important number of Catalans, including unionists, who may end up supporting the independence of Catalonia.