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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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Geopolitics

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

Jair Bolsonaro bogus claims perform well online

Cris Faga/ZUMA
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

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