Catalan nationalists look set to oust the ruling Socialists in Sunday’s election for the regional parliament.
Discontent is rife over high unemployment and the state of the economy, despite Catalonia being one of Spain’s richest regions, boasting the country’s second city, Barcelona.
Artur Mas is looking to takeover the presidency:
“If the state is important, the country is even more important. A state is an administrative configuration, an artificial creation, but a country is a lot more than artificial architecture. A country is its people, its territory, its landscapes, its emotions and its feelings.”
The Socialist incumbent, Jose Montilla, looks set to take the blame for Spain’s financial woes:
“They won’t win because Catalonia is not right-wing it is not separatist. The majority of Catalans want to defend the Statute of Autonomy and they believe in social justice.”
Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will be keeping a close eye on events, his party faces regional elections next May and a general election in 2012.