With all the focus on the success of Sinn Féin and various Left parties and candidates in the European and local elections here in Ireland, including the north-east, it is worth casting an eye on Catalonia, the Iberian nation which is moving towards a referendum vote on full independence from the Spanish state. From AFP via Channel News Asia:
“Long-standing separatist party, the Republican Left, won the European Parliament elections in Spain’s north-eastern region of Catalonia on Sunday, official results showed.
The party captured 23.67 per cent of the vote, beating the conservative Convergence and Union party, the biggest formation in Catalonia’s local parliament, which came in second with 21.86 per cent of the vote.
Both parties want to hold a referendum on independence from Spain on November 9, flying in the face of fierce opposition from the central government in Madrid.
The small Catalan leftist ICV party captured 10.3 per cent of the vote in the European Parliament elections, meaning the three Catalan parties that back the referendum captured 55.83 percent of the vote in Catalonia.
Voter turnout in Catalonia jumped to 47.6 per cent from 36.9 per cent in the 2009 EU elections.
“All the forces which want November 9 to go ahead obtained excellent results,” said Republican Left candidate Josep Maria Terricabras in a reference to the planned independence referendum.
Proud of their distinct language and culture, a growing number of Catalonia’s 7.5 million citizens resent the redistribution of their taxes to other parts of Spain and believe the region would be better off on its own.
The Republican Left, the second most voted party in the last regional elections held in Catalonia in 2012, will have two of Spain’s 54 lawmakers in the European Parliament.
The Convergence and Union party together with the Basque Nationalist Party will have three seats.”
With mixed results from across Europe it’s interesting to see the importance of progressive nationalist parties amongst those historic peoples seeking greater autonomy from the existing nation-states that compose the EU.