Catalan independence parties look set to win the most seats in election

Pro-independence parties that want Catalonia to break away from Spain are on course to win the most seats in regional parliament elections at the end of the month, a poll published on Monday showed.

Catalan independence parties look set to win the most seats in election
Pro-independence Catalans hold up the Catalan flag during a rally. Photo: Josep Lago / AFP

The two pro-independence lists running in the September 27th polls have 46.1 percent support, which would give them 70-74 seats in Catalonia's 135-seat assembly, well above the 68 seats needed for an absolute majority, the poll published in centre-right daily El Mundo showed.

Catalan president Artur Mas, who is seeking re-election, has said the wealthy northeastern region could begin seceding from Spain if pro-independence parties win a majority of seats in assembly in the election even if they fail to capture a majority of votes.

Mas' “Together for the Yes” list, made up of his conservative nationalist CDC party and the leftist separatist ERC party, has 39.4 percent support which would give it 62-65 seats, the poll showed.

The Catalan president, Artur Mas, will seek reelction on November 27th. Photo: AFP

Far-left party CUP, which was left out of Mas' alliance and is running on its own, has 6.7 percent support which would give it 8-9 seats. The party's support for Mas' independence plans is uncertain.

If Mas' pro-independence coalition wins the elections, his goal is to push through an 18-month roadmap for secession for the region of some 7.5 million people which accounts for a fifth of Spain's economic output.

He argues there is no option but to treat the regional election as a de facto vote on independence since Spain's conservative central government has refused to allow Catalonia to hold a referendum like the one held in Scotland, which resulted in a vote to stay in Britain.

Under Catalonia's proportional representation system, pro-independence parties could win a majority of seats in the assembly even if they get fewer votes than parties that oppose independence.

The poll showed Catalans are fairly evenly divided on the independence issue, with 46.2 percent opposed and 44.4 percent in favour.

The survey by the Sigma Dos polling firm of 1,400 eligible voters was carried out August 31st-September 3rd. 

Another poll published Sunday in Catalan daily newspaper El Periodico predicted a tighter victory for pro-independence parties.

It put support for the two pro-independence lists at 44.4 percent, giving it 67-70 seats in the regional assembly.

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