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Parties begin digesting Catalan election results

Main pro-independence parties call for “legitimate” government to be reinstated, while Cs refuses to “throw in the towel”

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22 December 2017 06:51 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

The results of Thursday’s Catalan election were clear enough: although the unionist Ciutadans party (Cs) won the most votes, the pro-independence bloc once again has a clear majority in the Parliament. What is less clear is what happens next. On Friday, the different Catalan parties began to put forward their vision of Catalonia’s political future.

Pascal says “ball is in Rajoy’s court”

Carles Puigdemont’s PDeCat party, which was the pro-independence party that won the most votes, made it clear that it wants to see the “legitimate” Catalan government reinstated. Party head Marta Pascal said on Friday that “ball was now in the court” of Spanish president Mariano Rajoy. After using Article 155 of the Constitution to dismiss Puigdemont’s government, it was Rajoy who called the election that gave the pro-independence bloc another majority in the Catalan Parliament.

“No alternative to Puigdemont” insists ERC

The other main party in favor of independence, Esquerra Republicana (ERC) also backed the call for the previous Catalan government to be reinstated, with Puigdemont at its head. Secretary general Marta Rovira said in a news conference on Friday that ERC “does not contemplate any alternative to Puigdemont.” She also called on Rajoy to admit the “failure” of his strategy and to “respect the democratic mandate” in favor of a Catalan Republic.

Arrimadas refuses to “throw in the towel”

It is an appeal that is likely to fall on deaf ears, as Rajoy on Friday rebuffed Puigdemont’s offer of talks, saying that the person he should sit with is Ciutadans party (Cs) leader, Inés Arrimadas. Cs was the surprise winner of Thursday’s election but does not have enough support in the chamber to form a government. Yet, Arrimadas said she is “not throwing in the towel.” She pointed out that despite its majority, the pro-independence bloc had come out of the election “weakened” and that her party’s victory was “historic”.

Rajoy the “biggest loser” says Domènech

Meanwhile, the other Catalan parties were left to lick their wounds on Friday. Catalonia in Common-Podem leader, Xavier Domènech, admitted that his party had got it wrong and would need to rethink. Yet, Domènech insisted that it was Rajoy who was the election’s “biggest loser”, while the undisputed winners were Arrimadas and Puigdemont. “It is not good news for us, they are parties that represent the unending loop of recent times,” he said.

Third way “not the solution” admits Iceta

Domènech’s regret at his party’s failure to usher a new dynamic into Catalan politics was mirrored by PSC leader, Miquel Iceta, whose socialist party opposed the independence movement and sided with the unionist parties. He said on Friday that his third way “is still not seen as the solution to overcome such a polarized situation.” Iceta also said that another pro-independence majority was more worrying than the Cs victory, as it “blocked” the political situation and he completely ruled out supporting a pro-independence government.

Calls for CUP to join “unity government”

PDeCat and ERC, however, will have no need of PSC’s support as long as the CUP party again decides to back a pro-independence coalition government, despite dropping from 10 to four seats. On Friday, Poble Lliure, the pro-independence organization within CUP, called on the party to take part in a “unity government” to bring together all of the independence supporters in the Catalan Parliament. The organization also congratulated the “republican bloc” for achieving a majority despite a context of “imprisoned and exiled candidates”.

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  • Socialists leader Miquel Iceta alongside Esquerra number 2 Marta Rovira (by ACN)