Catalonia votes ‘Yes to independence’

CATALAN nationalists say they will move to create an independent republic of Catalonia after regional parliamentary elections on Sunday saw pro-independence parties win an overall majority of seats in the Catalan Parliament.

A massive 77.5% of voters turned out for the election, with the ‘Together for Yes’ alliance – which includes a number of pro-independence parties – topping the poll.

The pro-independence parties say the result gives them a clear mandate to go about creating an independent Catalan state.

“We have won. Catalans have voted Yes to independence. We have a clear, absolute majority in the Catalan parliament to go ahead. As democrats we were prepared to accept the defeat. Now, we demand that they accept the victory for Catalonia and the victory of the Yes,” Catalan President Artur Mas told reporters as news of the victory broke.

Spain previously blocked a planned referendum on independence by Catalonia and has pledged to block any attempts by the Catalan Parliament to form an independent state, claiming that unilateral independence is illegal under the Spanish constitution.

Both Together for Yes and the smaller CUP party previously said that in the event of a majority they would unilaterally declare independence within 18 months.

It is expected a ‘Roadmap to Independence’ will be published by 2017 and the Catalan Government also wants to begin moves to create its own institutions including an army, central bank and judicial system.

Artur Mas says he wants to meet with the Spanish Government and the European Commission to plan a way forward “for all of us, not only for Catalonia”.