Football hero to run in upcoming Catalan elections

Former Barcelona football star and current Bayern Munich coach Josep "Pep" Guardiola Sala to run in Catalan elections under pro-independence coalition

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Josep "Pep" Guardiola Sala, the legendary midfielder of FC Barcelona during 1990s, entered his name among a list of candidates for the Catalan pro-independence coalition in the upcoming regional elections in Spain.

Catalonia is an autonomous region in northeastern Spain and is governed by a regional parliament and a president. September’s regional elections will see a race between supporters and protesters of the region’s possible secession from Spain.

Madrid sternly objects to secession. Last month, the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled against independence referendums, deeming them unconstitutional.

Guardiola’s candidacy bears a symbolic value as he took the bottom spot in the list, which means he is unlikely to win. He is a known independence supporter and voted in November 2014’s unofficial polls. Currently he is coaching the FC Bayern Munich in Germany.

The Catalan Nationalist Party, Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC), and the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) have recently formed a coalition which advocates for independence.

The coalition agreed in principle to work towards holding an independence referendum within 18 months, if successful in the upcoming elections.

Some citizens of Catalonia are dissatisfied with Spain’s policy on redistributing regional tax income to infrastructure of other, poorer regions of the country and therefore petition for secession; whereas others defend unity pointing at the common history and culture of all Spain.

Previous unofficial referendums and polls show mixed results for secession supporters. According to the BBC, more than 2 million out of an estimated 5.4 million eligible voters participated in November 2014’s unofficial referendum of which 80 percent backed independence. In a more recent opinion poll conducted by The Opinion Studies Centre, 50 percent voted against independence whereas 42.9 percent voted in favour. This survey was carried out in June and had a 2.7 percent margin of error.

TRTWorld and agencies