Apparently, only 59% of Catalans entitled to do so, have decided to vote in the coming elections to the Spanish parliament. In 2004, a massive voter turn-out here (76%) played a big role for the change of government. That was largely a protest against PP, for adapting the reasons behind the March 11 (2004) train bombings in Madrid to their own agenda. Only to a smaller extent was it a vote for Zapatero who, subsequently during four years in power, has not always seemed to care about his Catalan supporters.
The popular explanation to the low interest is that people are fed with up with Spain’s dominating parties – the ruling socialists and the conservative PP. However, that is to disregard the fact that Catalonia has Spain’s richest range of local parties with a realistic chance to win seats in parliament. Catalan nationalist can show their disappointment with the two big ones by voting for right-wing liberal CiU, left-wing ecologists ICV-EUA or the fiercely nationalist left of ERC. Spanish nationalist, on the other hand, will find their alternative in Ciutadans.
I am not surprised that the socialists have a relatively high share of voters who have not yet decided whether to vote or not, that is normal for a main stream party. But that the inclination to vote for the catalanist ERC is even lower does not make sense to me. Spain will continue to exist beyond March 9 and either Zapatero will continue in power, or PP will have an opportunity to change society as of their ideology. The Spanish parliament will not lose legitimacy, only the Catalan voice in Madrid will suffer.
In a democratic state, the rational choice for those who want a change in politics is always to vote. This time it seems that a low voter turn-out in Catalonia will benefit PP, which means that anyone who decides not to vote, passively give them their support. Personally, I much prefer Catalans who show that they are irritated (emprenyats) to those who stay and sulk at home.