Sunday, October 16, 2011

Expected electoral results for November 20 in the Southern Basque Country

While it is not any election we await with too much interest, being a Spanish poll, it has the novelty for us that (probably, hopefully) the Basque Nationalist Left coalition Amaiur will be able to run.

Amaiur is the continuation of Bildu, which got very good results in the last municipal and provincial elections, achieving political control many towns and the chartered province of Gipuzkoa. The main novelty is that now it also includes Aralar, a breakaway party from Batasuna, which run on their own in those elections, getting only some relevant support in Navarre (where they run with, not really influential, EAJ-PNV and independents as Nafarroa Bai: Yes to Navarre, splitting the Basque nationalist vote).

The name Amaiur is taken from the fortress of Baztan that was the last stand of Navarrese freedom fighters after the Castilian invasion of 1512-21.

My (probably accurate) estimate of the upcoming results for Congress (Spain's lower house) is as follows:

I ignored the Senate because it's so anti-proportional that it hurts, without almost exception, the winner takes 3 seats and the second party 1. All provinces have 4 seats per constitutional perpetration, regardless of population. Only Araba, where all four leading forces are almost tied to votes offers some serious uncertainty here: EAJ-PNV can take 5 senators (4-7), Amaiur 5 as well (5-6), PP-UPN may get 6 (3-6) and PSOE should get not a single senator (even in Araba it's rather badly placed and not on streak at all). 

For Congress, each province gets 2 seats "just because" and the rest are apportioned. It is a horrible method for the circumstances of Spain as such because provinces have little or no popular roots nor personality, so it was designed to favor local caciques, specially in rural areas, totally tilting the balance against the cities. Same or even worse for the Senate election system. 

In addition the system uses the D'Hont method that favors biggest parties (while not as much as in the winner-takes-all systems), which is not good to reflect the diversity of opinions that a democratic system should. This is all implicit in the massive protests that are sweeping Spain demanding true democracy and protesting that they do not feel represented, even if it's not the main factor of discontent, because the system really does not allow opponents of the twin party system to effectively exert their political rights in most circumstances. 

This kind of system might not be that bad for the Basque case, because the various regions (provinces) do have strong personality and some 800 years of history with major political attributions (charters), which was the way Castile countered Basque pro-Navarre separatism after invasion. But being used for an imposed foreign parliament, the matter is of little relevance after all for us. What we really want is the right to separate from Spain and France and rule ourselves freely again and anything else falls short of true democracy for us. 

Anyhow, the results are not much different from the ones achieved in the March elections, except in Navarre, where the Left pro-Basque vote was split, favoring the Spanish nationalist camp (already quite strong anyhow). However in Navarre, there is some uncertainty on how many will vote for the residual NaBai led by EAJ-PNV (almost with no support in Navarre in recent history), specially as the pro-Spanish right UPN and PP have signed an electoral pact that should muster them some 135,000 votes. 

Bildu and NaBai could add up some 92,000 votes for Amaiur but if too many of NaBai's votes  (maybe just 15%) of these go to PNV or abstention (essentially the same), then D'Hont method would work against Amaiur and give the fifth seat to the largest list, UPN-PP. That's why there is a black dot in Navarre, representing the disputed seat.

See also: Electoral map of the Southern Basque Country (for latest municipal elections) and the source of all these elaborations: Gara: electoral results March 22.

Update (Nov 13): Gara (found via Branka) reports slightly less good results in terms of deputies for Amaiur, possibly because of the D'Hont Law marvels after some vote migration to Spanish parties (notably there seems to be a right-wing voting sector that supports EAJ-PNV locally but PP at state level), but the Basque Nationalist Left would anyhow be the most voted list (27%) in the Southern Basque Country... for the first time in history.

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