Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Monday, 4 january 2016 | NEW YORK TIMES

English

New Elections Likely in Catalonia After Separatist Leader Is Rebuffed


NYT
 
03-01-2016.-
 
RAPHAEL MINDER
 
 
Catalonia is likely to convene new regional elections after a far-left party there voted Sunday against allowing Artur Mas to continue as leader of the region and its secessionist movement.

The vote Sunday by members of the political committee of the Popular Unity Candidacy party left Catalan politics in a government deadlock similar to one that Spain as a whole could soon face. In inconclusive national elections on Dec. 20, the governing party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy got the most votes, but lost its parliamentary majority.

In Catalonia, Mr. Mas had been trying for three months to persuade the Popular Unity Candidacy party to let him stay in office. A coalition of separatist parties won regional elections in September, but lacked enough seats to form a new government without the support of the Popular Unity Candidacy party, known by its Catalan acronym, CUP.

Sunday’s committee vote was required after a bizarre result a week earlier, when a secret ballot among party activists resulted in a draw.
While the CUP is committed to gaining Catalonia’s independence, it has also opposed the austerity measures introduced by Mr. Mas’s administration and recently sought to hold him responsible for a major corruption scandal within his conservative Convergence party.

Although Mr. Mas has not been accused of wrongdoing, the founder of Convergence, Jordi Pujol, was charged with money laundering last month as part of a long-running investigation into undeclared bank accounts that he and relatives held.
 
Catalonia must hold new elections if no regional government can be formed by Jan. 10. Officials from CUP insisted on Sunday that their opposition to Mr. Mas should not derail Catalonia’s independence movement and invited other separatist leaders to present an alternative candidate.

Sergi Saladié, a lawmaker from CUP, reminded Mr. Mas that “he himself said that he wouldn’t be an obstacle to move forward toward independence.”

Mr. Mas became the leader of the secessionist drive in 2012 after a falling-out with Mr. Rajoy over whether Catalonia should be granted more tax benefits as part of a Spanish fiscal system that redistributes tax revenue from richer regions like Catalonia to poorer ones. Although the secessionist movement has since gained momentum, it has also deeply split Catalan society, and Mr. Mas has seen support for his Convergence party decline.





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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Col·lectiu Emma is a network of Catalans and non-Catalans living in different countries who have made it their job to track and review news reports about Catalonia in the international media. Our goal is to ensure that the world's public opinion gets a fair picture of the country's reality today and in history.

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