PRO INDEPENDENCE Carles Puigdemont, 55
Journalist who founded the Catalan News Agency and the English-language paper
Catalonia Today, before being elected as an MP for the mainstream nationalist party Convergència i Uniò in 2006. Elected mayor of Girona in 2011 and then appointed as successor to Artur Mas as Catalan president in 2016. A passionate advocate of independence since his teens, he speaks excellent French as well as English and Romanian.
Oriol Junqueras, 48
Leader of leftist nationalist Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya and Catalan vicepresident in coalition with Puigdemont’s PdeCat party and the anticapitalist CUP. Educated in the Italian school in Barcelona before studying modern history at university. Elected mayor of Sant Vicenç dels Horts near Barcelona in 2011. Affable and wily, he is seen by many as more politically astute than Puigdemont. He is also associate professor of modern and contemporary history at Barcelona’s Universitat Autònoma.
AGAINST Ada Colau, 43
Elected mayor of Barcelona in May 2015 as leader of Barcelona en Comú, a social issue platform. Studied philosophy at university but dropped out to become a social activist. She had a brief stint as a TV actor but is best known as a housing activist and founder of a group dedicated to preventing evictions provoked by Spain’s economic crisis. She is opposed to independence but has called for a legally binding referendum. Her popularity with the public is not reflected by the Catalan media.
Xavier Domènech, 43
Leader of Catalunya en Comú. Born of anarchist parents, he is a social historian, and professorial in manner. As a member of the Indignado movement in 2012, he met Pablo Iglesias Turrión, now leader of Podemos. He was elected to the Spanish parliament as a Podemos candidate in 2016. Although not pro-independence, he leads a party in which 20% of members are secessionists.