The quest for peace, democracy and political stability has led a number of divided societies in Europe to opt for arrangements that entail segmental autonomy in order to accommodate ethnic diversity, avoid secession or even civil war. Although there are various institutional devices through which this idea can be implemented, in practice, one of its typical manifestations involves the devolution of legislative competences to the regional level. This process is in turn accompanied by the establishment of subnational representative institutions: governments, parliaments and elections. Although, such decentralization of political authority aims at accommodating the centrifugal tendencies existing in a given plurinational State, it may also have long-term unintended consequences. By focusing on Spain, the paper examines how subnational elections strengthen subnational identity, disseminate views in favour of further decentralization and may potentially cultivate secessionist preferences.