Pro-Independence Parties Win Catalan Polls

Pro-Independence Parties Win Catalan PollsPro-Independence Parties Win Catalan Polls

Pro-independence parties in Spain’s Catalonia region have won an absolute majority in regional elections.

The main separatist alliance and a smaller nationalist party won 72 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament, BBC reported.

However, the pro-independence parties fell just short of getting 50% of the vote, winning 1.9 million out of 4 million ballots cast.

The separatists say the victory gives them a clear mandate to form an independent Catalan state.

Spain’s central government in Madrid has pledged to challenge any unilateral moves towards independence in court.

The “Junts per Si” (“Together for Yes”) alliance won 62 seats. If it combines with the far-left separatist CUP party, which won 10 seats, it will be able to form a parliamentary majority.

“We have won,” Catalan regional President Artus Mas told his cheering supporters late on Sunday.

After a celebration rally, the pro-independence camp’s leaders said they would now proceed towards the creation of an independent Catalan state.

“We have a clear, absolute majority in the Catalan Parliament to go ahead,” Mas said.

Pablo Casado, spokesman for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s PP party, argued that the separatists had “failed” by not securing a majority of votes.

“This election should serve to end the independence debate once and for all,” he told AFP.

Spain’s government has consistently dismissed any secession plans as “nonsense”.

Opinion polls suggest a majority of Catalans favor a referendum on independence but are evenly divided over whether they want to secede.