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EU on alert: Brussels sent warning as Catalan independence parties secure majority
February 15, 2021
Catalonia election: Expert says to 'be careful' with the figures
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A bloc of pro-independence parties won 51 percent in the Sunday ballot with 99 percent of the vote counted. The election ended in a three-way tie between the Socialists and two separatist movements, the Catalan Republican Left and Together for Catalonia. The far-right Vox movement also secured 11 percent of the vote as centre-right parties floundered.
The unionist party will enter Catalonia’s regional parliament for the first time as a result.
Pere Aragones, of the Catalan Republican Left, said: “Sit and talk. I would like to send a message to European authorities, the results are clear.
“The Catalan people have spoken, the time has come to negotiate an independence reference.
His party bettered 33 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament, the same amount as the Socialists, despite not winning as many votes.
“For the first time, the independence movement has won more than 50 percent of the vote,” Mr Aragones added.
Mr Aragones has been acting as regional leader since separatist politician Quim Torra was disqualified last September after refusing to remove pro-independence symbols from a government building.
Mr Quim said called the election results a “resounding pro-independence victory”.
Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist-led minority government, which has relied on the Catalan Republican Left to win votes in the national parliament, has ruled out an independence referendum.
Carles Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia party, which has a more confrontational stance with Madrid, came third, winning 32 seats and 20 percent of the vote.
Catalonian independence has gained traction over the past decade, leading to constant bickering with Madrid.
In October 2017, regional authorities held an unauthorised independence reference and the Catalan parliament subsequently issued a declaration of independence.
As a result, a number of high-profile separatist politicians were handed heavy jail sentences.
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Mr Puigdemont fled Spain to Belgium rather than face trial and now is an MEP for his party in the European Parliament.
Turnout was down over 20 percent with participation plummeting because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Voting was organising in shifts, with at-risk voters given the opportunity first, followed by the general population and then people who have tested positive for Covid last.
Compared to the same ballot in December 2017, just 53.5 percent of people turned out to vote. In contrast 79 percent casted a vote last time out.
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Catalonia is an affluent region in north-eastern Spain, home to about 7.5 million people.
It’s independence bid in 2017 sparked the biggest political crisis in 40 years, which saw the region have its autonomy withdrawn for seven months while Madrid handled the fallout.
In 2019, Spain’s Supreme Court sentence nine separatist politicians and activists to prison terms of between nine and 13 years for what was deemed an illegal independence referendum.