Thursday, December 6, 2012

Catalan vote from abroad would have altered make up of Parliament

Originally published in Vilaweb, 6 December 2012

Difficulties in voting drastically lowered turnout - Under normal conditions, the results would have been different, in favor of CiU and ERC

The election returns from Catalans who reside outside of Catalonia would have changed the make up of the Parliament, with more seats in favor of sovereigntist parties, but the obstacles to voting resulted in a drastically lowered turnout, as a report written by the International Federation of Catalan Organizations explains.

According to this document, only 9,538 valid votes were counted. That figure, including the null votes, represents a turnout of 6.74% of the total of 156,976 Catalans who are registered to vote abroad. The turnout was higher than that of recent elections in the Basque Country and in Galicia, revealing the high interest that this election had engendered. It is a very low turnout, however, with respect to previous Catalan elections. For example, in 2008, there was 20% turnout.

The Federation believes that the new regulation has made it very difficult to vote from abroad and points out that there are entire communities, like that of most of the Catalans in the United States, who received no documentation regarding the elections and who were unable to vote.

This fact becomes even more relevant when the returns are analyzed. Both CiU and ERC have stronger results among foreign-residing voters—4 points more for CiU and 2 points more for ERC. In contrast, PSC, PP, and Ciutadans all had lower percentages. A high turnout, therefore, would have altered the distribution of seats in the parliament. According to the Federation's calculations, CiU would have won 4 more seats, at the expense of Ciutadans and PSC.

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