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Parties react: Presidential bids expected from Socialists and Esquerra

Illa says "Catalonia loves Spain" while Aragonès says "time has come to negotiate a referendum"  

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15 February 2021 12:57 AM

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ACN | Barcelona

Esquerra and the Socialists, who won 33 seats each in the new parliament, have both announced that they will bid for the presidency.

Salvador Illa of the Socialists says he will try to be invested as Catalan president, but it's unclear whether he will get enough parliamentary support: "The change is unstoppable. Catalonia loves Spain," he said.

Oriol Junqueras, the jailed leader who is head of Esquerra, says his party will lead the next Catalan government. Their presidential candidate Pere Aragonès said "Pro-independence parties have reached more than 50% of the votes. The Catalan people have spoken. The time has come to negotiate a referendum."

Carles Puigdemont of Junts Per Catalunya says the independence movement, with over 50% of the vote, has won the Catalan election and is stronger now than it was three years ago, while their presidential candidate Laura Borràs has called for unity among parties that want to split from Spain.

The third pro-independence force in parliament, CUP, argued that "people have voted to start a new cycle" after they went from 4 to 9 parliament seats. Their main candidate Dolors Sabater said "We can’t afford another political term with a pro-independence majority while not moving forward."

'Leaders of the opposition'

The far-right party Vox thanked the "more than 200,000 Catalans" that voted for the party, making them the fourth largest in parliament. "We are the leaders of the opposition to the left" said Ignacio Garriga, the party's main candidate.

Jessica Albiach of Catalunya En Comú-Podem celebrated the return of left-leaning parties in the election, and says that a left-wing coalition is "unstoppable" and will govern Catalonia "sooner rather than later."

Carlos Carrizosa of Ciudadanos lamented the surge in support for pro-independence parties and, after losing 30 seats, reaffirmed his party's desire to "continue to defend the Spanish constitution from the center of the political spectrum" and to "fight for freedoms in Catalonia."

Finally, Alejandro Fernández of the Catalan People's Party explained that they did not reach their objectives of "growing" the party, and accepted their "very bad results" as they fell to the bottom of the Catalan parliament with just three seats.

A day later

Speaking to the BBC a day after the election, Esquerra Republicana's Pere Aragonès argued in favor of EU involvement in the independence conflict. "European institutions must understand that political conflicts like the conflict between Catalonia and Spain can also be resolved inside the European Union," the presidential hopeful said. 

Jailed pro-independence leader Jordi Sànchez, of Junts per Catalunya, also highlighted the strong results his bloc obtained in the election and called for a governing alliance between the parties three parties with parliamentary representation that are in favor of splitting with Spain. 

Meanwhile, Santiago Abascal, the president of the far-right Vox party, which will be entering the Catalan parliament for the first time ever with 11 seats, celebrated his staunchly unionist party's results: "We will be an opposition heard all over Catalonia, in every corner, town, street, and neighborhood."

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