Homage to Catalonia
An Independence Stalemate?

Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Catalonia, which were billed as a referendum on the region’s secession from Spain, produced mixed results. A group of pro-independence parties called “Together for Yes” captured 62 out of the Parliament’s 135 seats, but did so with less than 50 percent of the vote. If “Together for Yes” can form a coalition with CUP, a secessionist party on the Left, the pro-independence forces will have a majority of seats under their control. That has emboldened the leader of the independence movement, Artur Mas, to declare a “democratic mandate” for independence. NYT:

“We have a democratic mandate; we have won against all odds,” Artur Mas, the Catalan leader, told supporters in central Barcelona on Sunday night as votes were still being counted. “Just as we, as democrats, would have accepted defeat, we ask that others recognize the victory of Catalonia and the victory of the Yes” bloc for independence, he added […]

Raül Romeva, leader of the “Yes” list, told supporters on Sunday that “nobody can say that we don’t have legitimacy.”

But it’s an open question whether a coalition with CUP will work out. And, perhaps more importantly, the supposed democratic mandate is also in question: Wining an absolute majority was seen as crucial to the legitimacy of the independence movement leading up to the vote. In some ways, this was the worst possible result. A long, bad-tempered struggle likely lies ahead.

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