Monday, May 26, 2014

Catalan MonitorNews Roundup

Electors awarded the pro-referendum parties in Catalonia a resounding victory at this weekend’s European elections, with a historic first position by the progressive Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (23%, 2 MEPs), followed up close by ruling Convergència i Unió (21%, 2 MEPs). Together with Iniciativa per Catalunya-Verds (10%, 1 MEP), which came 4th, the three parties add up to 55% of the support by the Catalan electorate. The anti-referendum parties PSOE (14%, 1 MEP), PP (10%), and C’s (6%) and some smaller parties amount to approximately 33% of the supports.

Turnout in Catalonia, at around 47%, was interestingly higher than the Spanish and European average (at 45% and 43%, respectively).

Following is a selection of the best stories to understand yesterday’s elections in Catalonia: [/text_output]

AFP | Separatist party wins EU vote in Spain’s Catalonia
“The three Catalan parties that back the [independence] referendum captured 55.83 percent of the vote in Catalonia.
“This as you can understand strengthens the political process in favour of the right to decide and the consultation and strengthens the fact that we want to vote on November 9,” said [president Artur] Mas after the results of the European Parliament election were published.
Voter turnout in Catalonia jumped to 47.6 percent from 36.9 percent in the 2009 EU elections.”

Guardian | Spain: People’s party triumphs while smaller parties make gains
“One surprise came from Catalonia, where voter turnout jumped more than 10%, from 36.9% in 2009 to 47.44% in 2014. The region, whose government is pushing to hold a referendum on independence, has been warned by many critics that its drive for sovereignty could leave Catalonia outside of the EU. Artur Mas, the president of Catalonia, noted that several of the parties in support of the referendum had increased their number of seats in the European parliament. He added, “Everything is moving forward, not backwards.”

Wall Street Journal | Spain’s Ruling Popular Party Wins Most Votes in EU Elections
“The independence debate has shaken up the Catalan political map and hurt Spain’s two mainstream parties, which oppose independence: The Socialist Party of Catalonia got 14.3% of the region’s vote, down from 36% in 2009. Popular Party got 9.8% of the vote, compared with 18% in 2009.”

ACN | Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party ERC wins elections for the first time
“Catalans are sending a message to Europe. Parties supporting self-determination have won the 2014 European Parliament elections in Catalonia by a clear margin, elections which have also seen turnout increase from 36.9% in 2009 to 47.4%, spurred by the independence debate. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) obtained some 23.7% of the vote, whereas in 2009 it had 9.2%. The Centre-Right pro-Catalan State Coalition (CiU), which has been in government in Catalonia since 2010, has almost kept the same percentage of the vote it achieved in 2009, dropping only slightly from 22.4% to 21.9%, despite the austerity measures it has adopted in the past few years.”

L’Indépendant | Catalogne : les indépendantistes en tête des Européennes
“This independentist victory comes five months before the referendum on self-determination that the region’s president wants to organise on November 9 despite the central government’s stern opposition.”

Vilaweb | Landslide for pro-sovereignty parties in Catalonia in EU elections
“Pro-sovereignty parties obtained 55.81% of the votes (CiU+ERC+ICV-EUiA). Unionist parties (PSC+PP+Ciutadans) won 30.37%. Podemos, the seventh place winner, expressed its support for Catalonia’s independence if the Catalan people declare that decision with a referendum. Therefore, their 4.66% of the vote can be added to the group that is in favor of the right to decide.”

Nationalia | Pro-autonomy, pro-sovereignty parties of stateless nations, national minorities surge in EU election
“The Kingdom of Spain is the European country where most MEPs beloning to sovereignist parties were yesterday elected. Three of them belong to the Coalition for Europe (Catalonia’s CDC Ramon Tremosa and UDC Francis Gambús, and Basque Country’s EAJ-PNV Izaskun Bilbao), while two of them were elected under the Catalan ERC-NECat coalition (Josep Maria Terricabras and Ernest Maragall). Besides, one MEP for each one of the following parties were also elected: Initiative for Catalonia, Galicia’s Anova (Ernest Urtasun and Lidia Senra, both running within a coalition led by Spanish United Left), Valencian Country’s Compromís (Jordi Sebastià) and The Peoples Decide (LPD, a coalition led by Basque Country’s EH Bildu and Galicia’s BNG, who will share the European seat according to the share of vote each one got yesterday). Therefore, 9 pro-sovereignty MEPs were yesterday elected, out of a total of 54 Spanish MEPs. This compared to 5 pro-sovereignty MEPs in 2009. According to initial statements by parties, MEPs belonging to ERC-NECat, LPD and Compromís will adhere the European Free Alliance (EFA) group, while CDC and EAJ-PNV are set to join the liberal group (ALDE). ICV should join the Green group, UDC the European People’s Part (EPP), and Anova the European United Left.”