On Sunday, September 27th Catalonia will hold its regional election, in which 135 representatives will be elected to take a seat in the regional parliament.
Candidates who support independence for the northeastern region have billed the election as a de facto vote on independence, telling Catalans that a vote for the pro-secessionist coalition Junts pel Sí (Together For Yes) is a vote to breakaway from Spain.
But for outsiders interested in the goings on of Catalan politics, the different parties and politicians can often be more than a bit confusing. Here is a who's who of the main players going into Sunday's election.
Junts pel Sí (JxSí) Together for yes
JxSí presidential candidate and current Catalan president, Artur Mas. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP
The pro-independence coalition made up of four parties that - according to the latest polls - could clinch an absolute majority in the parliament (68 of the 135 available seats). If it does, the Catalan parliament will declare independence "within 18 months" according to current president and the coalition's presidential candidate, Artur Mas.
The four parties in the Junts pel Sí coalition are:
Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya, CDC (Democratic Convergence of Catalonia): conservative party headed by Artur Mas.
Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia): left-wing party headed by Oriol Junqueras.
Demòcrates de Catalunya - Democrats of Catalonia: a conservative, Christian democratic party founded in 2015 as a more adamantly pro-independent offshoot of the Democratic Union of Catalonia (UDC).
Moviment d'Esquerres - Left Movement: a social democratic party founded in 2014 when the Nova Esquerra Catalana (New Catalan Left) and the Moviment Catalunya (Catalonia Movement) parties merged.
The four parties vary wildly in their political leanings, from left to right, but the one issue uniting all four is clear: they all want Catalonia to secede from Spain.
Raul Romeva, a leader of the Together for Yes coalition. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP
The coalition is led by Raül Romeva, a former MEP for the Catlan Green Party and an independent candidate in Sunday's election.
The latest El País poll shows JxSí winning 66 or 67 seats, bringing it close to winning an absolute majority. There is also the possibility that the pro-independence CUP party will support Together for yes.
Ciudadanos (C's) Citizens
C's candidate Inés Arrimadas. Photo: Josep Lago/AFP
C's (Ciutadans in Catalan) was founded in 2005 in Catalonia and launched nationwide this year. The centrist party opposes independence. Its presidential candidate is Inés Arrimadas, one of the C's nine members of parliament. According to the latest El País poll, it looks set to win 19 seats.
Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya (PSC) Socialists' Party of Catalonia
PSC candidate Miquel Iceta. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP
The Catalan branch of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), the PSC's presidential candidate is Miquel Iceta (who is also a nifty dancer, showing off his moves when he was announced as candidate - see video below).
The latest El País poll puts the anti-independence PSC as winning 14 seats.
Catalunya sí que es Pot (CSQEP) Catalonia yes we can
Catalonia yes we can candidate Lluís Rabell. Photo: Josep Lago/AFP
A left-wing coalition that opposes independence, preferring to focus on social issues, whose parties are:
- Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds (ICV) Initiative for Catalonia Greens
- Esquerra Unida i Alternativa (EUiA) United and Alternative Left
The coalition, whose presidential nominee is activist Lluís Rabell, is modelled on Barcelona en Comú, the left-wing coalition that ran in May's municipal elections, in which activist Ada Colau was elected mayor of Barcelona.
The latest El País poll puts CSQEP as winning 14 seats.
People's Party of Catalonia (PPC)
PPC candidate Xavier García Albiol. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP
The regional branch of Spain's ruling Popular Party, its presidential candidate is former mayor of Badalona Xavier García Albiol. The PPC is currently forecast to win 10 seats in Sunday's election.
Candidatura d'Unitat Popular (CUP) Popular Unity Candidacy
A far-left, pro-independence party that could support the Together for Yes coalition. El País poll predicts the party will win 10-11 seats. The CUP´s candidate is writer and journalist Antonio Baños (pictured below, furthest right).
Candidates in a recent televised debate. Photo: TV3
Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC) Democratic Union of Catalonia
Previously in coalition with the CDC, the two parties split in June 2015, making this the first election they have run separately since 1977. The UDC's presidential candidate is Ramon Espadaler (pictured above, second from right), while the party is predicted to win 0-2 seats.
Partido Animalista (PACMA) Animalist Party Against Mistreatment of Animals
Pirates de Catalunya - Pirates of Catalonia
Recortes Cero – Els Verds (Zero Cuts – The Greens)
Ganemos (Let´s win)