Separatists Win Catalan Election

La Vanguardia, Sept. 28, 2015

"The ‘yes' prevails," the Barcelona-based daily La Vanguardia titled Monday, as pro-independence movements won the absolute majority in regional elections in Catalonia. The landmark victory is seen by separatists as a de facto independence referendum in favor of the northern region breaking away from Spain.

The "Junts pel Sí" ("Together for Yes") list, the main separatist coalition, won 62 seats, and the "Candidatura d'Unitat Popular" ("Popular Unity Candidacy") movement won 10. Together, their 72 seats exceeds the 68 out of 135 required to form a parliamentary majority.

Their rivals, however, refused to recognize their victory, seeing as they failed to get a majority of votes. The separatist parties fell just short of getting 50% of the vote, winning 1.9 million out of 4 million ballots cast. The spokesperson for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's People's Party Pablo Casado said that "this election should serve to end the independence debate once and for all."

Catalan regional President Artur Mas clearly disagreed. "We won," he told a cheering crowd after the election Sunday. "Today was a double victory, the yes side won, as did democracy." Mas has pledged to lead Catalonia towards independence from Spain by 2017 at the latest.

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