Thursday

22nd Feb 2018

Catalan voters back secession parties in Spain

  • Mas campaign rally with EU and Catalan flags on show (Photo: convergenciaiunio)

Separatist parties were the winners in Sunday's (25 November) regional election in Catalonia, which saw the highest voter turnout ever in Spanish regional elections.

The new parliament still favours a referendum on independence, something Madrid has said it will oppose.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The governing centre-right alliance party Convergència i Unio (CiU) won 50 seats out of 135 in the Catalan parliament, followed by the left-wing separatist party Esquerra Republicana with 21 seats.

In total, the seats in the new parliament that favour the “right to decide” on independence from Spain is nearly two-thirds with 87 while 48 are against – only a slight change from before the election (86 to 49).

Catalan President Artur Mas will continue to lead the northeastern region in Spain, but his victory was a bitter one, as his party lost 12 seats compared to the election in 2010 when CiU came into power. Mas called for snap elections to give legitimacy to his plan for a Catalan referendum on independence from Spain. He had hoped his party would be elected as the clear leader for such a process.

Although parties in favour of the "right to decide" on independence have been legitimised, the governing CiU failed to get the absolute majority (68) they had hoped for.

Instead, Mas has paid for the severe cuts in public spending – especially in health and education – his government has made in the last two years. The party’s recent move to the separatist camp might also have failed to convince voters whether CiU really wants independence or if it is a populist move.

“I intend to carry out this consultation [on independence],” Mas said after the election.

In a warning to the conservative government in Madrid, Mas said: “Those who want to impede that process must keep in mind that … the sum of the political formations that are in favour of the right to decide has the majority in the Parliament by far."

The government in Madrid was quick to comment saying that “Mas’ separatist programme was a failure”.

Meanwhile, Esquerra Republicana, headed by Oriol Junqueras, jumped 11 seats up from being the fifth biggest party to the second biggest party in the Catalan Parliament.

“This election has strengthened the process towards independence for Catalonia,” Jonqueres said on Sunday night.

The Socialist Party, which favours a more federal Spain, came in third with 20 seats (down from 28); Partido Popular, which currently governs in Madrid and which favours a more centralist Spanish state came in fourth gaining one seat.

For its part, the green-left ICV, which favours a referendum but is still undecided on independence, came in fourth with 13 seats. The non-nationalist Ciutadans party, which wants to stay with Spain, got nine seats; and a new extreme left and independentist party CUP won three seats.

Almost 70 percent of Catalans went to the ballot boxes on Sunday – the highest ever in a Spanish regional election.

The potential road to independence is unlikely to be straightforward, however.

Madrid is against a break-up and the Catalans themselves are cautious when it comes to a change in relations with the European Union. If Catalonia were to become independent, it may have to re-apply for EU membership - a long and cumbersome process.

All eyes on Catalan election

Catalans will cast their vote for a new regional assembly on Sunday in an election that could have considerable consequences for Catalonia and the rest of Spain.

Magazine

Catalan separatist looks to crisis with hope

It is often said that on the long and winding road to European union, it takes a crisis to move ahead. Now the same may be true for regional independence. "Independentism has become a cross-cutting movement."

Agenda

EU economic forecasts out next WEEK

The European Commission will next Friday unveil its latest forecast for economic growth and employment in EU countries.

Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress

Italians, Czechs and Latvians perceive less corruption than a few years ago in Transparency International's annual ranking. The Berlin-based NGO said Finland was a 'worrying case', whilst Bulgaria - which holds the EU presidency - is EU's most corrupt.

UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit

Britain wants to negotiate with Brussels the end date of the Brexit transition period - without saying what their preferred end date would be. The UK's position paper disagrees with the EU on other key points too.

News in Brief

  1. Juncker's right-hand man warns of 'institutional blockage'
  2. Greek parliament to open probe on PMs and EU commissioner
  3. May gathers Brexit ministers to hammer out UK position
  4. Tajani asks Juncker for all EMA Brexit relocation documents
  5. Hahn: EU to back entry talks with Albania and Macedonia
  6. UEFA signs deal to promote 'European values' at EURO 2020
  7. Belgian PM to host 11 EU leaders ahead of summit
  8. Tusk all but rules out pan-EU candidates in 2019 elections

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  2. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  4. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  5. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  7. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. Dutch MPs vote on ending 'Ukraine-type' referendums
  2. Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress
  3. UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit
  4. Commission defence of Barroso meeting leaves 'discrepancies'
  5. MEPs bar WMD and killer robots from new EU arms fund
  6. Canete gets EU parliament pension while still commissioner
  7. Bank of Latvia sends deputy to ECB amid bribery probe
  8. We are not (yet) one people