UDC ministers quit Catalan government over independence row
Tensions over the issue of independence between the two parties forming the CiU coalition have caused a government crisis in Catalonia. Three ministers from the Christian-Democrat party UDC, the smaller party within the CiU, have left government after their allies of 37 years, CDC, presented them with an “ultimatum”. The governing council of UDC decided on Wednesday, with 16 votes in favour, 10 against and 2 abstentions, that Vice-president Joana Ortega, Minister of Agriculture Josep Maria Pelegrí and Minister of Home Affairs Ramon Espadaler, who is also the secretary general of UDC, should quit Artur Mas’ government. UDC voted on Sunday by a slim majority in favour of an ambiguous stance on the issue of independence, in which the party supported the right to self-determination but fell short of stating whether or not Catalonia should actually vote ‘yes’ to full independence from Spain. Following the result, the Liberal party CDC, led by Mas, urged their coalition partners to state clearly whether or not they are for independence. Elections to the Catalan Parliament are expected to be held on the 27 of September, and may be considered a plebiscite on independence. Tensions between CDC and UDC over the reluctance of the latter to clearly support independence make it unlikely that they will run together, although UDC has said it will still provide parliamentary support to CDC in the coming months and won’t split the coalition at local level.