Party leaders react to Catalan election results
JxCat’s Puigdemont calls for return of “legitimate government” while Cs Arrimadas claims “no future” for independence
Once the results of Thursday’s Catalan election were in, it didn’t take long for the main political players to react. Despite it being an unprecedented victory for the unionist Ciutadans party (Cs), the pro-independence parties - Together for Catalonia (JxCat), Esquerra (ERC) and CUP - managed to hold on to their overall majority in the Parliament.
JxCat’s main candidate, dismissed president Carles Puigdemont, reacted from Brussels, where he went to avoid arrest after Catalonia’s self rule was suspended, saying “the situation requires a rectification, a reparation and a restitution of democracy and the legitimate government of Catalonia.”
The pro-independence party that the polls predicted would win the most seats, ERC, ended up as the third largest party in the Parliament. However, its number two candidate, Marta Rovira, claimed that the election result showed that “the Republic had beaten Article 155,” the clause in the constitution allowing the Spanish government to impose direct rule on Catalonia.
Meanwhile, CUP is the other party whose seats, as before, will allow the pro-independence bloc to keep its parliamentary majority. It’s main candidate, Carles Riera said: "The Republic of October 1 has clearly won this election." Yet, he also admitted that his party, which went from 10 to four seats, had “lost capacity to influence” and predicted that JxCat and ERC would return “with empty hands” from talks with the Spanish government.
The party that received the most votes on Thursday was Ciutadans, winning 37 seats in the Parliament. The Cs leader, Inés Arrimadas, whose campaign had largely featured her party’s opposition to the independence process said, "It was clear the independence process had no future and today it is even clearer that it offers no future for all Catalans."
One of the parties also opposed to independence, the Catalan branch of Spain’s ruling People’s Party, got the worst result in its history, winning only three seats. Its leader, Xavier García Albiol, called the election result “a bad day for the future of Catalonia” and warned Arrimadas that her victory would last “for only five minutes.”
The other party that also adopted a unionist position was the Catalan PSC socialist party. Its leader Miquel Iceta did not hide his disappointment at his party’s poor results and called on the pro-independence majority to act within the law, although he also pointed out that the separatist bloc had lost seats and votes.
Finally, the party that the polls and the media had predicted would become decisive in the new parliament, Catalonia in Common, did not live up to expectations. Forecast to become the new kingmakers between the pro-independence and unionist blocs, the party gained only eight seats. “They weren’t the results we were expecting,” admitted party leader Xavier Domènech.