THE events this past weekend in Catalunya are a reflection of what is happening throughout the entire country.
The anti-establishment CUP party refused to support the investiture of Artur Mas as regional premiere, plunging the northeast region into further political chaos with new elections looming.
Catalunya has been under certain political upheaval after a regional election in September failed to give Mas and his Junts pel Si coalition an absolute majority to continue governing.
Mas needed the support of CUP, which had been divided over whether to give the pro-independence premier its backing because it had lost trust in him, and lost two CUP confidence voting rounds.
The caretaker Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy is also facing an unprecedented crisis in modern democracy. Rajoy cannot muster any type of support – so it seems for now – from any of the three other major political forces that took large chunks of seats in Congress during the past elections.
Rajoy had hoped to create a great coalition between his Popular Party, the Socialists and the new centrist group Ciudadanos. But Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez told Rajoy just before Christmas that he needed to go. Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera also rejected joining the PP but said it would abstain for voting in favor of or against his investiture if he could seek enough support from other groups.
The leftwing anti-austerity Podemos is keeping the Socialists from creating a leftist coalition government by demanding that it support a referendum for Catalan independence – a proposal that Sanchez has vowed he won’t accept.
Spanish society cannot be blamed for this political uncertainty caused by the fragmented results from December 20. There are deep divisions that have existed for a long time among Spaniards, and they are only surfacing now as the possibility of a new general elections begins to look real.