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The separatists weakened in Catalonia – Spain’s prime minister congratulates the socialists

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From a polling station in Barcelona where a woman registers before going into the booth to cast her vote, probably with her dog. Photo: Emilio Morenatti / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 13.05.2024 00:49:27

Policy: When 99 percent of the votes have been counted, the four Catalan separatist parties have received a total of 61 mandates. That is well below the 68 they need to get a majority in the 135-seat regional parliament.

The Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC) is set to win 42 seats alone, slightly higher than expected, and an increase from 33 seats in the 2021 election.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez late on Sunday evening congratulated PSC leader Salvador Illa “for this historic result achieved in Catalonia”.

The Socialists, who are the Catalan offshoot of Sánchez’s Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), will have to negotiate a coalition with other parties anyway.

Of the four separatist parties in Catalonia, former regional leader Carles Puigdemont’s Junts party gets the most votes. His party looks set to secure 35 seats. The ruling, more moderate separatist party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) is set to win 20 seats.

Spain’s largest opposition party, the conservative People’s Party, gets 15 seats, an increase of three from the previous election.

The turnout was 58 percent.

Separatists have led Catalonia’s regional government in Barcelona since 2012 and have won a majority in four consecutive regional elections. But support for the separatists has dwindled since Puigdemont’s escape in 2017.

– The candidacy that I led has had a good result. We are the only pro-independence party that gets both more votes and mandates, and we accept the responsibility that entails. But the result is not good enough to compensate for the decline of the other separatist parties, he said on Sunday evening.

Catalonia’s Republican Left Party, led by regional president Pere Aragonès, gets 20 mandates, down from 33. But the party, which has ruled with a minority, could become the key to a majority, even if it means the party has to break with the other separatist parties.

The far left party Comuns-Sumar gets six mandates. This party could also become important for a possible socialist coalition led by Illa.

A newly established separatist party on the far right, called the Catalan Alliance, is elected for the first time to the regional assembly with two mandates.

– We have seen that Catalonia is not immune to the reactionary far-right wave sweeping Europe, says Aragonès.

But the latest opinion poll from Catalonia shows that it is drought, not independence, that is the biggest concern of Catalans at the moment.

The survey shows that 50 percent of Catalans are opposed to independence, while 42 percent support independence. This means that support for the independence cause has fallen to the 2021 level. When Puigdemont left Catalonia in 2017, 49 percent were in favor of independence and 43 percent against.

– Today begins a new phase in Catalonia to improve citizens’ lives, expand rights and strengthen coexistence, said the Prime Minister.

Catalonia has previously tried to break away from Spain. The last time was in 2017, and it ended with the then regional leader Carles Puigdemont going into self-imposed exile to avoid prosecution. This year he has run an election campaign from France for Junts.

Even further to the left is the separatist party Cup. The number of mandates will be reduced from nine to four. At the opposite end of the political scale is the far-right party Vox, which gets eleven mandates, the same number as in the last election,

(© NTB)

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