Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

World

Catalan separatists win absolute parliamentary majority

By AFP 22/12/2017
Center-right party Ciudadanos (Citizens) candidate Ines Arrimadas (center), the party leader Albert Rivera (third from left) and other candidates and party members celebrate their polls results in the Catalan regional election in Barcelona on December 21. Photo: Pau Barena | AFP
Center-right party Ciudadanos (Citizens) candidate Ines Arrimadas (center), the party leader Albert Rivera (third from left) and other candidates and party members celebrate their polls results in the Catalan regional election in Barcelona on December 21. Photo: Pau Barena | AFP

BARCELONA — Catalan separatists won a crucial snap poll Thursday, plunging their region into further uncertainty after a failed independence bid rattled Europe and triggered Spain's worst political crisis in decades.


With turnout at a record high and 99.9 percent of the ballots counted, the election handed a mandate back to the region's ousted separatist leaders, even after they campaigned from exile and behind bars.

In a clear indicator of the huge gulf over independence afflicting Catalan society, anti-secessionist centrist party Ciudadanos had the biggest individual result with 37 of the 135 seats in the regional parliament.

"It's a strange feeling. We won the majority of seats, but we lost in votes," 26-year-old doctor and separatist supporter Fran Robles told AFP after the results were announced.

"It's a good reflection of the reality that Catalonia is politically divided," he added.

But unless the three pro-independence lists fail to clinch a deal to work together in the coming months, they will rule Catalonia with 70 of the 135 seats in parliament -- two less than their previous tally of 72.

For Catalans on both sides of the divide the day had been a moment of truth, following weeks of upheaval and protests unseen since democracy was reinstated following the death in 1975 of dictator Francisco Franco.

"This is a result which no one can dispute," deposed leader Carles Puigdemont said from self-imposed exile in Belgium, emboldened by the separatists' win.

"The Spanish state was defeated. (Prime Minister Mariano) Rajoy and his allies lost," he told reporters.

Defeat for Rajoy
The Spanish government called the election after it took the unprecedented step of stripping Catalonia of its treasured autonomy in the aftermath of an independence declaration on October 27 that rattled a Europe already shaken by Brexit.

At stake was the economy of a region that has seen its tourism sector suffer and more than 3,100 companies -- including the largest banks, utilities and insurers -- move their legal headquarters out of Catalonia since the referendum.

The declaration came weeks after a banned independence referendum on October 1, which saw a police crackdown that sent shockwaves around the world.

Rajoy and his conservative cabinet tried to nip the independence movement in the bud, sacking the regional government and dissolving its parliament.

In a further obstacle for the separatist cause, the judiciary pressed charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of funds against the secessionist leaders.

Puigdemont, who had fled to Belgium where he tried to rally international support for the separatist cause, has not since returned to Spain, where he faces arrest.

His Together for Catalonia list nonetheless secured the best result of the three separatist groupings -- in a major upset for Rajoy's government.

Risk of new elections?
But in Belgium, a separatist supporter warned against triumphalism.

"It's a bitter victory," said Michel Vila, a 70-year-old retired engineer who has lived in Belgium for 30 years.

Analysts were swift to note that what the separatists' victory will mean in practice remains a mystery.

"It is unclear whether Puigdemont will be able to be re-appointed ... as he will be arrested if he comes back to Spain," said Antonio Barroso, political analyst at the Teneo research centre.

"As a result, the investiture process will be far from straightforward, and the risk of new elections in 2018 remains high," he added.

Crucially, the pro-independence camp is not expected to attempt another breakaway from Spain but rather try to enter into negotiations with Madrid.

By fleeing to Belgium, Puigdemont said he aimed to win the support of the European Union for his cause.

But the EU has so far backed Rajoy, saying it supports constitutional order, and that it is an internal matter for Spain.

The European Commission stressed its stance remained the same regardless of the result of the vote.

On the other side of the divide, Ciudadanos candidate Ines Arrimadas saw the glass half full, celebrating her centrist party's lead in votes.

"The nationalists will never again be able to speak in the name of all Catalonia. We are all Catalonia," she said in a speech to supporters after the result.
Tags : Barcelona
1296 Views

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Adam | 10/20/2018 6:08:25 AM
They should do the same to the so called king of Saudi because islam says eye for eye and tooth for tooth.
Luigi Palermo | 10/20/2018 6:45:38 AM
Khashooggi was a close friend of Erdogan the Turkish presiden who watched LIVE and in real time the interrogation ,torture ,killing and desmembering...
Saudi Arabia admits critic Khashoggi killed in Istanbul consulate
| 4 hours ago | (2)
pre-Boomer Marine brat | 10/19/2018 4:37:45 PM
"Men of the Army of al-Naqshbandia Order" was formed by al-Douri, and he repeatedly changed its stripes to meet the political needs of the moment. ...
Jay | 10/20/2018 2:16:24 AM
These are witchcraft and evil practices and should be banned. If Islam had not stopped on Kurdish way, Kurds would have had their country long, long...
Return of unusual Sufi ceremonies banned under ISIS
| 17 hours ago | (2)
dilan | 10/19/2018 10:28:48 PM
"unnamed adviser" big claims with zero credibility = fake news
FAUthman | 10/20/2018 1:48:16 AM
Surely GE would have checked with the State Dept about whether its employees would be safe in Iraq if GE were to accept this contract. GE engineers...
US's General Electric beats out Germany's Siemens for Iraq contract - report
| 18/10/2018 | (5)
Yassir Fekaiki
Yassir Fekaiki | 10/19/2018 9:55:44 PM
Placing a crown on a monkey doesn't make it a King....Barham is another Hero bafel puppet
Murat | 10/19/2018 11:35:06 PM
Wonderful!! he needs to show the bright beautiful side of Baghdad. It was once the center of the whole world for 600 years! Greetings from Germany
President Barham Salih takes a stroll through Baghdad
| 18 hours ago | (3)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Kirkuk governor orders Kurdish groups, workers’ syndicates to vacate offices 20 hours ago |

Kirkuk governor orders Kurdish groups, workers’ syndicates to vacate offices

"We assure teachers that we won’t vacate this more
Trump says Saudi journalist likely dead, warns of ‘severe’ response 22 hours ago |

Trump says Saudi journalist likely dead, warns of ‘severe’ response

“It certainly looks that way to me. It’s very more
Turkey to host Syria summit with Russia, Germany, France 23 hours ago |

Turkey to host Syria summit with Russia, Germany, France

"To harmonize joint efforts for finding a lasting more
0.297 seconds