Catalan separatists increase majority
February 15, 2021 - Pro-independence parties in Catalonia increased their majority in regional elections but the Socialists, who support the union with Spain, took the largest individual share of the vote.
For the first time, pro-independence parties took more than half the votes, winning 51% – up from 47.5% in the last regional election in December 2017. Between them, they now hold 74 of the 135 seats in the Catalan parliament, an increase of four seats. The most likely scenario was for the two main separatist parties to extend their coalition government.
With 99 per cent of the vote counted, the election resulted in a virtual three-way tie between the Socialists and two pro-independence parties, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and Together for Catalonia party (JxCat).
Vox, which is the third biggest party in the Spanish parliament, won 11 seats, breaking into the Catalan parliament for the first time and taking more seats than its rivals in the conservative People’s party (PP) and the centre-right Citizens party combined.
Turnout was 53.55 percent.
The rise of the separatist movement over the past decade has transformed Spanish politics, leading to confrontation with Madrid, notably in October 2017, when former president Carles Puigdemont’s government staged a referendum on Catalan independence.
The referendum was declared illegal by the Spanish courts and prompted the government in Madrid to dissolve the Catalan parliament and assert direct rule over the region, arresting and imprisoning numerous political leaders.