Separatists have won a clear majority of seats in Catalonia’s parliament, preliminary official results showed, in an election that set the region on a collision course with Spain’s central government over independence.
The TV3 poll puts the Together for Yes group of secessionists on 63-66 seats in the 135-member parliament. The language was harshly suppressed during the 1939-1975 dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco.
At the same time, if “Together for Yes” fails to gain a majority, it would be tantamount to a serious defeat for the pro-independence movement.
Addressing supporters of Junts pel Si in central Barcelona, Mas said a “democratic mandate” now existed to move forward with independence. But we have won and that gives us an fantastic strength and legitimacy to carry out this project.
“We have had to overcome many obstacles from the state institutions”, he said Sunday.
Unionist parties in Catalonia, in disarray since Mr. Mas launched his drive for independence in 2012, joined in declaring their collective showing Sunday, with 52% of the vote, a popular rejection of Catalan independence.
Pro independence supporters wave “estelada” or pro independence flags during a rally of “Junts pel Si” or “Together for YES” in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, September 25, 2015.
Pro-independence parties would jointly obtain majority of seats, but not of votes as they do not reach 48 percent of vote, (Junts Pel Si has 39.61 percent and CUP 8.19 percent).
“CUP will be under huge pressure to support Mas and the process”, said Antonio Barroso, a London-based analyst with the Teneo Intelligence political risk consultancy.
The threat of Catalonia breaking away from Spain has dominated the country’s political scene for the past year and has been a constant source of dispute between Mas and the ruling conservative Popular Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, which rejects any possibility of Catalan independence as unconstitutional.
After the Spanish government blocked him from holding a straight referendum on secession, Mas framed Sunday’s vote for the regional parliament as an indirect vote on independence, heightening tensions with Madrid.
Depending on who forms a government in Madrid, constitutional reform to recognise Catalonia as a nation within the Spanish state may be on the cards. “But at last the ballot boxes are in place and there will be a plebiscite, politically speaking, on the future of Catalonia”.
We will update when vote results are known.
The regional legislature and the new government will take shape in the next few weeks, all while Spain prepares for the legislative elections expected in December and in which the Catalan issue will likely continue to have a presence.
Mas says that the region would be better off independent, with greater control over its taxes.
“I have wanted independence ever since I was young”, Pérez said after voting in Barcelona.