Secessionism as the Mainstream: Regionalist Parties’ Strategies in the Catalan and Scottish 2021 Regional Elections
The COVID-19 pandemic was a critical event that has challenged regionalist-secessionist parties to maintain their dominance at the regional level, because it has questioned the attractiveness of the idea of independence for the electorate. Nevertheless, the results of the regional elections 2021 in Catalonia and Scotland brought about the success of regionalist parties with secessionist demands. This study analyzes regionalist parties’ strategies in the 2021 regional elections in Catalonia and Scotland, advancing our understanding of their strategic choices to get/remain in office. This study employed the Regional Manifesto project methodological approach to perform a manual content analysis of party positioning and selective emphasis. Additionally, it advances the distinction between blurring and subsuming strategies through a frame analysis of electoral campaigns. The results suggest that regionalist parties mainly use subsuming and two-dimensional strategies to gain electoral success and that the exact strategic choices depend on the structure of the competition. The research confirms the framing of territorial demands primarily in socioeconomic rather than political terms, as proposed by the FraTerr Project. However, regionalist parties have avoided radicalizing their social demands owing to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic.