Catalonia voters boosted two separatist parties on Sunday, securing a parliamentary majority in the regional legislature and advancing their cause of breaking away from Spain.
"With more than 98 percent of the votes counted, the nationalist coalition Junts Pel Sí (Together for Yes) were projected to win 62 seats, while far-left pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy, known in Spain as CUP, were set to gain 10 seats, meaning an alliance of the two parties could give secessionists an absolute majority in the region’s 135-seat parliament," The Guardian U.K. reported
Spain's central government, based in Madrid, has called the independence push illegal, and has vowed to stop a breakaway.
The Wall Street Journal explained
that, while Catalonian separatists hold a majority in the regional parliament, they won a minority of the popular vote on Sunday — 48 percent.
"A quirk in election law — which gives greater weight to ballots from more sparsely populated rural areas — enabled the independence tickets to win," The Journal noted.
Ines Arrimadas, the leading regional parliamentary candidate for the anti-independence Citizens party, said that pro-independence leader Artur Mas should resign after failing to win the popular vote.
"He said the majority of Catalans were with him. Today the majority of Catalans turned their back on him and the only thing he must do is resign," said Arrimadas, The Associated Press reported
Catalonia is accounts for roughly one fifth of Spain's economy, and one quarter of its exports.
Catalonians say that the national government over taxes the region, and does not offer proportionate benefits in return. The distinct language spoken in the region was also suppressed under Francisco Franco's dictatorship from 1939-1975. In general, the more rural regions of Catalonia tend to support independence, while urbanites, like those living in Barcelona, tend to favor unity with Spain.
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