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Catalonia election: Separatist parties lead with half of votes counted

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Catalonia election: Separatist parties lead with half of votes counted

Post Vendég on Thu 21 Dec - 22:10

Catalonia election: Separatist parties lead with half of votes counted

Separatist parties are on course to retain a majority in the new Catalan parliament, early results suggest.

The election pits Catalan pro-independence parties against those who want the region to remain a semi-autonomous part of Spain.

However, with 75% of the votes counted, the unionist Citizens (Cs) party had the biggest share of the vote.

A BBC correspondent says there seems little prospect that the election will solve Catalonia's political crisis.

Normally, the largest party has the right to try to form a government - according to the results so far, this would be the unionist party Citizens.

However, the separatist parties may insist they have the right to try first, if they have the largest number of seats overall.

Within the separatist party block, ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont's Together for Catalonia party was slightly ahead of the Republican left of Catalonia, led by his former deputy Oriol Junqueras.

Spain dismissed the separatist Catalan government in October after declaring the referendum to be illegal.

"Today we will demonstrate the strength of an indomitable people. May the spirit of #1oct guide us always," Carles Puigdemont tweeted from self-imposed exile in Belgium. Spain declared the 1 October Catalan independence referendum illegal.

"Today we will demonstrate the strength of an indomitable people. May the spirit of #1oct guide us always," Carles Puigdemont tweeted from self-imposed exile in Belgium. Spain declared the 1 October Catalan independence referendum illegal.

But he said "this is not a normal day" and "neither is it a day of normal democracy". His team told the BBC that he was unable to vote as he was in Brussels.

Turnout was reportedly more than 80%, a record for a Catalan regional election.

Long queues of voters - but no pets
By Europe reporter Gavin Lee in Barcelona

No pets allowed - it's a pooches-at-the-door policy here in the central Barcelona polling station of Casinet d'Hostafrancs, and there must be one dog to every 10 voters.

Early voters queued in their dozens here 20 minutes before polls opened - something I didn't see in Berlin, Paris or Amsterdam this year for elections elsewhere in Europe. It may point to a record turnout across Catalonia.

Opinion polls predict up to 85% of the 5.3 million eligible voters will turn out.

In the queue Ana, a student, described it as "the most important election in the history of Catalonia". When polls close tonight the people, given the legal right to vote this time, will have shown the direction in which they want the independence crisis to play out.

Why is this election happening?
Separatists who dominated the Catalan parliament declared independence on 27 October, after the referendum.

In an attempt to stop that referendum, Spanish police stormed some polling stations. However voters defied the Spanish courts and riot police to cast their ballots.

The move led to violent clashes with hundreds of people reported injured. Footage showing police tackling people at polling stations and pulling a woman by her hair caused outrage.

According to the organisers, 90% of voters were in favour of independence, but fewer than half the region's electorate took part.

Mr Puigdemont decided it was enough to declare independence from Spain.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy then sacked the Catalan government, imposed direct rule and called the 21 December election.

What happened to the Catalan government?
Prosecutors accused 13 Catalan separatist politicians of rebellion and sedition, including Mr Puigdemont and four others who fled to Belgium.

Among the accused, two pro-independence politicians are in Spanish prisons, and six are being monitored while on bail.

As a result, campaigning for Thursday's snap election has led to some unusual scenes, with Mr Puigdemont addressing rallies via a videolink from Brussels.

Oriol Junqueras has been sending messages to supporters from prison.

In the run-up to the referendum Mr Puigdemont's JxCat party had been allied to the ERC, led by Mr Junqueras.

But the ERC has opted out of a new alliance, making Mr Junqueras the main separatist rival to Mr Puigdemont.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42435684

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Re: Catalonia election: Separatist parties lead with half of votes counted

Post Neon Knight on Thu 21 Dec - 22:52

The only way to solve all this is to have an official referendum on independence for Catalonia. But first they would have to change the Spanish constitution.

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Catalonia election: Spain PM Rajoy rejects Puigdemont talks call

Post Vendég on Fri 22 Dec - 18:23

Catalonia election: Spain PM Rajoy rejects Puigdemont talks call

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has rebuffed calls by Catalonia's ousted leader, Carles Puigdemont, to meet for new talks outside the country.

Mr Rajoy said he would negotiate with whoever became the new head of the Catalan government but they would have to take up their post in Catalonia.

Mr Puigdemont earlier called for talks to take place in Brussels, where he is living in self-imposed exile.

Separatist parties won a majority in a Thursday's snap regional election.

Mr Rajoy avoided naming Mr Puigdemont during a press conference on Friday but said he was prepared to hold talks with whoever took control of the Catalan regional government "in a realistic way and inside the law".

"I offer Catalonia this because I care about the people," he said.

Mr Rajoy said the winner of Thursday's election was Inés Arrimadas, the leader of the Citizens party, which wants Catalonia to remain a semi-autonomous part of Spain.

The Citizens party is now the region's biggest party, although pro-independence parties are best placed to form a government.

"It is evident that something is broken, and it will take time to repair it," Mr Rajoy added.

Speaking in Belgium earlier on Friday, Mr Puigdemont said Catalonia wanted to be an independent state.

"This is the wish of the Catalan people," he said, adding: "I think the plan of [Spanish Prime Minister] Mariano Rajoy is not working, so we have to find new ways to tackle this crisis."

Mr Rajoy's conservative Popular Party (PP) recorded its worst ever result in Thursday's vote.

The Spanish government imposed direct rule on Catalonia and called the election after declaring an October independence referendum illegal.

What were the results?

With nearly all votes counted, the pro-independence parties Mr Puigdemont's Together for Catalonia (JxCat), the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and Popular Unity (CUP) were on course to win a total of 70 seats in total, giving them a majority in the new parliament.

Citizens (Cs) had 25.3% of the vote, winning 37 seats in the 135-seat chamber.

Its leader told the BBC her party had been "victorious". Ms Inés Arrimadas said forming a coalition would be "difficult - but we will try".

The PP, meanwhile, won only three seats, down from 11 in the previous assembly.

Turnout was more than 80%, a record for a Catalan regional election.

Read the whole article here:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42458717

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