Mas wins, but independence of Catalonia is running out of steam


Junts pel Sí obtained 62 seats, and will be depending on the CUP to invest in MAS. Pro-independence parties received just 48% of votes cast

Artur Mas & Raül Romeva / EFE

from Barcelona, 28 de septiembre de 2015 (12:53 CET)

It was indeed a plebiscite, and it is now evident that President Artur Mas has achieved his aim of it being as such. The independent block won the absolute majority, but with under 50% of the votes; managing 48%.   

Mas was aware that it was not the same for Junts to come close to the 68 seats –the absolute majority- than the 62 obtained at the expense of the CUP: an anti-capitalist group at odds with the idea of forming a state in the European community. 

President again

In any case, Mas will continue. Junts pel Si obtained 62 seats against ten for the CUP. Mas could encounter difficulties with regard to investment, but will only require abstention from Antonio Baños' electoral list during the second round. With one in ten MP's in favor, this is likely prospect for the anti-capitalist group.   

It is another thing to initiate a process towards independence, taking into account that the movement has not managed even 50% of the votes – something that the experts had believed to be obligatory in order to begin the undertaking. The president in office with the Generalitat stated that "the "yes" vote has won, and so has democracy", insisting that the central government had not left any alternative other than transforming the autonomous elections into a form of plebiscite.

It is a victory for Mas, but the bloc between the CiU and ERC managed 71 seats in the 2010 elections. They now have 62 following a deep divide in Catalonia, with almost two halves, if the plebiscite is taken into account. 

Mass participation

The mobilization in these elections has been incredible. The autonomous election has seen one of the highest levels of participation in history, with 77.37%; above the general elections of 2004, which were held after the terror attacks on the 11th of March. At that time, 75.9% of people voted in Catalonia, and in 2008 –following significant struggles negotiating the Estatut- participation stood at 71.19%. The 2015 election has now risen above these figures.

Mas should know how to manage this victory. His partner, Oriol Junqueras, president of the ERC, wrote from his Twitter account that "the mandate" towards independence is clear. The question is, can Junts pel Sí, together with the CUP set the ball rolling?

Fears amongst business owners

Business owners had expressed fear over the last two weeks that Mas would not be able to control the situation. Aside from the fact that a large part of them (represented by Foment) are against the process, there are fears that Mas will be trapped by the CUP, or that an alternative Leftist government could be formed.

The dismal result for Catalunya sí que es pot, taking just 11 seats, renders a supposed operation –one which was at no point put forward in earnest- completely unfeasible.

Mas can continue to govern, but the rate that he lends to the sovereignty process is another issue. It must be taken into account that he is entering another electoral campaign: the general elections, which Mariano Rajoy wants to hold on the 20th of December.
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