5.9 A political example

The Spanish territorial structure recognizes to each region an important level of autonomy, comparable to that of many federal states—such as Germany, Canada, or Australia—although its 1979 Constitution does not explicitly state that the country is a federal state. This apparent contradiction is related to the existence of different and sometimes contradictory feelings of nation and nationality within the country. That adds a bit of extra complexity to the typical labor-conservative distribution of political parties. In particular, in the autonomous region of Catalonia, parties must also define a profile in the matters of nationalism versus nonnationalism, and in Spanish versus Catalan nationalism. How do the citizens perceive the several parties? Is the nationalist matter more or less important than the social classical left–right division? To answer these questions and, in general, to get an election profile of Catalan society, a data set of votes cast to each party in the elections between 1980 and 2006 (general or regional) by electoral districts is analyzed. This might serve as an example for other regions in the world with a strong independence or reconfederation movement (Québec, Flanders, Scotland). Six parties are considered (by decreasing total number of votes):

  1. Catalan Socialist Party—Spanish Labor-Socialist Party (PSC-PSOE), the historical social-democratic party in Spain; member of the European Socialist Party and the International Socialist ...

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