Catalan separatists agree on a new government | Free press

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Shortly before the deadline, the two largest separatist parties in Catalonia reached a coalition. They are united by Spain’s goal of independence. But the region remains divided.

Barcelona (dpa) – The Spanish conflict region of Catalonia will continue to be ruled by a coalition of parties seeking to separate the economically strong region from Spain.

About three months after the February 14 elections, the two largest separatist parties, the left-wing ERC and the liberal-conservative JuntsxCat, agreed on a coalition government. Pere Aragonès of the ERC becomes the new regional head of government. The newspaper “La Vanguardia” wrote that a joint committee will determine how the billions in EU reconstruction aid will be spent following the corona pandemic.

Together with the radical left-wing CUP, the separatists won 74 of the 135 seats in parliament in Barcelona in the February 14 elections. Shortly after the election of Aragnonès, the CUP had confirmed the votes of its nine members. However, she does not want to participate in the government. The agreement between ERC and JuntsxCat avoided a new election, which would have been necessary had there not been an agreement on May 26.

ERC and JuntsxCat had already ruled together in the previous term, except that JuntsxCat was the head of government at the time. The two sides apologized for the long time it took to form a government. They announced that they would “rule for all while striving for the common goal of independence,” a statement said.

However, the population of Catalonia is divided into two roughly equal camps of supporters and opponents of secession from Spain. According to a recent survey by the opinion research institute GAD3, opponents of independence are currently 52 percent (42 percent) ahead of advocates of independence, «La Vanguardia» reports. The Socialists, who had become the strongest force in the February elections, criticized the future alliance as “only one government for half of Catalonia,” as “El País” reported. The left-wing central government in Madrid rejects a split, but has repeatedly expressed its willingness to resolve the conflict politically.

After an illegal referendum on independence, Catalonia was forced into administration by the central government in 2017. The then regional head of government Carles Puigdemont fled to Belgium. Many of his fellow campaigners were sentenced to long prison terms at the time.

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