Consequences of the vote
BARCELONA: The vote in Catalonia, Spain’s second-most populous region, is widely expected to influence the course of the Spanish general election in December.
Spain’s two dominant parties - the ruling People’s Party and the opposition Socialists - lost tens of thousands of votes compared with the last election in 2012, boding ill for their national ambitions, although the PP suffered a much deeper setback than its rival.
Anti-austerity Podemos also registered a disappointing score at nine per cent, sharply down from last May’s nationwide regional and local elections. Among parties opposed to independence, pro-market Ciudadanos, often cited as a national kingmaker, emerged as the only winner as it jumped to 18 per cent of the vote.
Despite the separatist victory, analysts believe the most likely outcome of the election will be to force a dialogue between Catalan and Spanish authorities.
“Many have voted for Junts pel Si even if they don’t favour secession because they saw the vote as a blank cartridge... and a way to gain a stronger position ahead of a negotiation,” said Jose Pablo Ferrandiz from polling firm Metroscopia.
Opinion polls show a majority of Catalans would like to remain within Spain if the region were offered a more favourable tax regime and laws that better protect language and culture.