Catalonia parliamentary election: Pro-independence parties win majority (UPDATES)


President of Catalonia and of the Pro-Independent Catalan Convergence and Unity party (CIU) Artur Mas, casts his ballot for regional elections held in the region.


David Ramos

(Updated Nov. 26, 2012) Two parties favoring independence for Catalonia won the majority of seats in the region's parliamentary election, held Sunday, BBC News reported.

However, while the parties both want independence from Spain, they agree on little else, making it less likely that they will be able to work with each other to force a referendum on the issue, Fox News reported.

"They agree on the issue of the right to decide the future of the Catalan people, but on economic issues they have opposite positions," Carlos Berrera, a communications professor at the University of Navarra, told Fox News.

The ruling center-right Convergence and Union party, whose leader Artur Mas pledged to call a referendum on Catalan independence if returned to office, won 50 seats on Sunday, keeping it the largest group in the 135-seat parliament, BBC News reported.

That's down from the 62 seats it held previously, Reuters said. 

The pro-independence Republican Left of Catalonia, known as ERC, more than doubled its seats to 21 seats from 10 seats, according to BBC News.

ERC leader Oriol Junqueras said at a press conference today that the party wants to cut taxes for workers and raise money through a new tax on banks, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

“Austerity is a mistake,” Junqueras said, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. “We insist on the need for a change in the budget policies.”

The Convergence and Union party is behind the austerity cuts introduced over the past two years, Fox News reported.

Catalonia, a relatively wealthy, yet indebted region, has been critical of Spain's revenue-sharing system that sees wealthy regions transfer funds to poorer ones.

But Madrid has opposed any calls for independence and said it would take any such measures to the constitutional court.

The court has already prevented a similar vote from occurring in the Basque territory in 2008.

Mas, who had opposed independence as late as 2010, is now a supporter.

"Catalonia is one of the oldest nations in Europe and the world. We have overcome all our difficulties: we have fought the military and dictatorships, and we're still alive," Mas said on Friday, according to the Guardian.




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