Separatists headed for Catalan election majority, preliminary results show

By Joan Faus and Luis Felipe Castilleja BARCELONA (Reuters) - Separatist parties were on track on Sunday to jointly win enough seats to strengthen their majority in Catalonia's regional parliament, according to preliminary results with over 80% of the votes counted. But the Socialists, the ruling party in Spain's national parliament, led in the popular vote in the Spanish region's parliamentary election, with 23.4% of the ballots and 33 seats. Even if final results confirm the outcome, it is unlikely to lead to any repeat of the chaotic, short-lived declaration of independence from Spain that took place in 2017

Reuters February 15, 2021 04:10:22 IST
Separatists headed for Catalan election majority, preliminary results show

Separatists headed for Catalan election majority preliminary results show

By Joan Faus and Luis Felipe Castilleja

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Separatist parties were on track on Sunday to jointly win enough seats to strengthen their majority in Catalonia's regional parliament, according to preliminary results with over 80% of the votes counted.

But the Socialists, the ruling party in Spain's national parliament, led in the popular vote in the Spanish region's parliamentary election, with 23.4% of the ballots and 33 seats.

Even if final results confirm the outcome, it is unlikely to lead to any repeat of the chaotic, short-lived declaration of independence from Spain that took place in 2017.

Tensions have ebbed and most voters were more concerned about the coronavirus pandemic than independence.

The most likely scenario would be that the two main separatist parties extend their coalition government.

The Socialists said, however, they would try to form a government if their advantage in votes holds, seeking an agreement with far-left anti-independence En Comu Podem. To do so, they would need an unlikely alliance with other parties.

"We believe change has arrived and it will stay," the Catalan Socialists top official, Eva Granados, told TV3.

The leftist, separatist Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) would get 33 seats in the 135-seat assembly, and centre-right pro-independence Junts 32, based on the results to date.

Far-left separatist party CUP would get nine seats.

Far-right party Vox was set to win seats in Catalonia's regional parliament for the first time, ahead of the People's Party, the main Spanish conservative party, and the centre-right Ciudadanos. Vox is already the third-largest party in Spain's national parliament.

But with ERC seen getting more lawmakers than Junts this time, that could boost the stability of Spain's central government.

ERC has provided key votes to the Socialists in the Spanish parliament in exchange for talks on the Catalan political conflict.

Election monitors swapped face masks for full personal protective equipment (PPE), including suits, masks, visors, goggles and black trash bags tied around their feet during the final hour of voting, "the zombie hour", which was reserved for people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

Other pandemic precautions during the day included temperatures taken on arrival, separate entrances and exits, hand gel and floor markings to ensure social distancing.

(Reporting by Joan Faus and Jessica Jones; Additional reporting by Luis Felipe Castilleja, Jordi Rubio, Nacho Doce and Albert Gea; Writing by Joan Faus and Jessica Jones; Editing by Peter Graff, Pravin Char and Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.