Past polls have indicated Catalans favour a referendum but are evenly divided over independence.
Catalans voted on Sunday, September 27, in an election dubbed crucial for the future of Spain, with polls pointing to a win by separatists who vow to declare the region independent by 2017.
With 97 percent of the vote counted, the “Together for Yes” group of secessionists had 62 seats in the 135-member parliament.
Polls show the race is tight and that the large “Together for Yes” block formed by pro-independence parties will need support from the small, radical Popular Unity Candidacy to win a majority of parliamentary seats.
They would jointly obtain 49.8 percent of the vote.
The Together for Yes is the most powerful pro-independence coalition and is led by Artur Mas, the current president of the Catalan region.
“There is a majority of Catalans who love their people and love their land, and do not want to see it amputated from Spain and from Europe”, he told supporters.
Catalans living in the United States, Mexico, Chile and part of China won’t be able to to take part in the elections because their ballot papers didn’t arrive on time and the electoral watchdog refused to extend the deadline, Meritxell Borras, the Catalan government’s institutional relations chief, said Saturday. “We have won and that gives us an enormous strength to push this project forward”.
Voters in Catalonia participated in an election Sunday that could propel the northeastern region toward independence from the rest of Spain or quell secessionism for years. Critics said the pro-independence forces failed to gain legitimacy for their secession push with the election result.
“He said the majority of Catalans were with him”. CUP leaders have also declared that they want an immediate declaration of independence rather than the 18-month secession roadmap favored by the “Yes” bloc.
“CUP will be under huge pressure to support Mas and the process”, said Antonio Barroso, a London-based analyst with the Teneo Intelligence political risk consultancy.
If the separatists fail to win an absolute majority, it will be a clear victory for the unionists and a devastating defeat for the pro-independence movement.
Catalonia, one of Spain’s richest and most industrialized regions, has a population of around 7.5 million people.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has repeatedly said that Catalonia’s secession would be illegal. Final results were expected late Sunday or early Monday.
“We are going through a time of confrontation”, she said.
In a warehouse in Barcelona, more than a thousand volunteers worked shifts through the summer bombarding Catalan voters with phone calls to persuade them to abandon Spain.
“Messages such as “Spain robs us” have created a breeding ground for emotions and have gone unanswered”, he said.
“These elections are special”.
Madrid has opposed the split with its autonomous region, which boasts the country’s highest GDP, due to economic reasons, as Spain has been suffering from a severe financial recession for years.
“I’ve heard complaints about the plurality of the Catalan media”, Jordi Sanchez, head of the ANC, said in an interview.