On 5 December, the Spanish Supreme Court withdrew its international arrest warrant against Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four other members of the government who have sought refuge in Belgium. Other Catalan politicians, arrested in Spain, have however been refused bail and will have to run their campaigns for Catalonia’s 21 December elections from jail.
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy still hopes to regain control on 21 December by scaring lukewarm supporters of Catalan independence into voting for anti-independence parties. The opinion polls still show little movement. They still suggest an outcome similar to the 2015 elections, when pro-separatist parties won a slight majority in parliament with a minority of the vote.
The leftish alliance of Catalonia in Common and Podemos — opposed to the separatist parties’ declaration of independence on the basis of their parliamentary majority, but in favour of insisting Madrid grant a proper referendum — may hold the balance. Even though many Catalan socialists oppose separation, for good reasons, socialists across Europe and in Spain must uphold the right of the people of Catalonia to self-determination.