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Tuesday May 28 2024

Catalan secessionist parties fail to secure majority in Spain's regional elections

13 May 2024 22:05 (UTC+04:00)
Catalan secessionist parties fail to secure majority in Spain's regional elections

Separatist parties in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region lost their majority in elections Sunday, with the Socialist Party winning the biggest vote, Azernews reports citing to Anadolu Agency.

“This opens a new era for all Catalan residents — whatever they think, whatever language they speak and wherever they come from,” said Socialist candidate and former Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa in his victory speech.

However, with 42 seats, the Socialist Party still falls significantly short of the 68-seat majority needed to form a government in the regional Parliament.

The clearest path to governability seems to be a left-wing coalition with Socialists teaming up with the left-wing separatist party ERC, which lost 13 seats compared to 2021, and the far-left party Sumar.

Yet that path is far from guaranteed. Tough negotiations are likely to ensue in the coming days and weeks.

While the left-wing parties achieved a majority with exactly 68 seats, overall Catalonia’s political landscape shifted away from the independence movement and toward the right wing.

With more political concessions to Catalonia like political amnesty from Spain’s central government, the Socialist Party's representation grew by nine seats compared to the last elections in 2021.

But the conservative Spain-centered Popular Party saw the most dramatic jump, moving from three seats to 15. The far-right Vox party remained the same, winning 11 seats. The far-left Sumar/Comunes dropped by two seats. The liberal party Cuidadanos disappeared.

As Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia’s former president who has been self-exiled from Spain since 2017, pointed out, his party Junts was the only mainstream separatist group that gained any seats — with its representation increasing by just three seats.

The far-right separatist party Alianca Catalana also broke onto the map, winning its first two seats.

Like Spain’s national parliament, Catalonia’s parliament is highly fractured with an uncertain future.

In his speech on Sunday, Puigdemont called on the ERC to find a way to make the exiled leader president and to “build a solid government whose obedience is purely to Catalonia.”

Negotiations on regional governance could easily spill onto the national stage, as Catalan separatist parties have also been propping up Spain’s progressive minority coalition government led by the Socialists.

Less than a month ahead of European Parliamentary elections, this vote suggests a move toward the right, although Spain’s left-wing forces continue as the dominant force with the support of like-minded regionalist parties.

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