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Madrid’s gamble backfires – Catalan separatists set to control regional parliament

CatalanCrowdFlagsAccording to a survey based on interviews with 3,000 voters, Ciudadanos will be the most voted for party in the Catalan election. However, independence parties jointly will have grabbed a bigger share of today’s vote which Spain’s government had hoped would solidify links between Catalonia and Madrid, not confirm the Catalans’ desire for independence.

Pro-unity party, Ciudadanos, will have attracted the most votes but will be unable to form a government in Catalonia as the separatists are highly likely to retain their absolute majority in the regional parliament.

If the exit polls and surveys are right, the result will be a severe blow to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy whose expressed intent is that this regional election would return a ‘unity’ Catalan executive and quell the separatist movement’s tenet that ‘given the vote, the Catalonian electorate would prefer independence from Madrid.’

The last time the people of Catlonia voted, or tried to vote, was at October 1st’s illegal referendum when police and Guardia Civil let loose a barrage of violence on voters attending voting stations. Images of blood-stained women and baton-wielding national police went around the world and increased Rajoy’s domestic appeal as a ‘hard man’ but caused international opprobrium.

Independence was declared ãfter the October vote. Rajoy reacted by sacking the entire Catalan cabinet and dissolved the parliament, actions which led to today’s election where the provisional result puts the centrist, pro-unity Ciudadanos in first place but unable to form a government.