Voters in the Spanish region of Catalonia have delivered a blow to Madrid by backing pro-independence parties in regional elections.
Separatist parties in Spain’s Catalonia win majority in election
Former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont celebrated the results from Brussels where he’s been in self-imposed exile since Spanish authorities announced they were seeking his arrest.
Puigdemont was pushed from power after holding an illegal independence referendum and declaring the region’s unilateral independence from Spain.
« The Catalan Republic has won, » he announced in Brussels in the early hours of Friday morning. « The Spanish government was defeated. »
The Spanish government had called an early election in the hope of quelling the separatist movement, whose push for independence triggered the country’s worst political crisis in decades.
But Madrid’s hopes were clearly dashed. With more than 99% of the vote counted, no single party gained an outright majority but the three separatist parties together took 70 seats. They needed 68 to keep their grip on the 135-seat Parliament.
To govern the pro-independence parties will need to join in a coalition. Such a scenario pushes the Madrid-Barcelona relationship back to where this all began three months ago, with a provocative separatist government in Barcelona rattling Madrid.
The anti-independence Ciutadans (Citizens) did win the most seats of any party, but not enough to form a majority government.(cnn)