First Cata­lan poll gives slight lead to anti-split par­ties

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

MADRID/BARCELONA: Po­lit­i­cal par­ties op­pos­ing a split by Cat­alo­nia from Spain had a small lead in an opin­ion poll pub­lished on Sun­day, the first since Madrid called a re­gional election to try to re­solve the cri­sis over Cata­lan de­mands for in­de­pen­dence.

The poll of 1,000 peo­ple by Sigma Dos for news­pa­per El Mundo, which op­poses in­de­pen­dence for the wealthy north­ern re­gion, showed anti-in­de­pen­dence par­ties win­ning 43.4 per cent sup­port and pro-in­de­pen­dence par­ties 42.5 per cent.

Cata­lans will vote for a new re­gional par­lia­ment on De­cem­ber 21. Spain’s cen­tral gov­ern­ment called the election on Fri­day, when it also sacked the re­gional pres­i­dent Car­les Puigde­mont and dis­missed his gov­ern­ment.

It had said it would re­turn the au­ton­o­mous re­gion to di­rect con­trol af­ter the Cata­lan par­lia­ment passed a uni­lat­eral dec­la­ra­tion of in­de­pen­dence on Fri­day in a vote that was boy­cotted by three na­tional par­ties.

The Cata­lan gov­ern­ment — which is still claim­ing to hold power – says it was given a man­date to se­cede from Spain in an un­of­fi­cial ref­er­en­dum held on Oc­to­ber 1.

The bal­lot was de­clared il­le­gal by Spain’s Con­sti­tu­tional Court and has been largely dis­cred­ited be­cause turnout was only an un­ver­i­fied 43 per cent as most op­po­nents of in­de­pen­dence stayed at home.

Sun­day’s opin­ion poll was taken from Mon­day to Thurs­day, just as the cen­tral gov­ern­ment was pre­par­ing to take con­trol of Cat­alo­nia.

With weeks still to go be­fore the election, Sun­day’s poll showed the hard­line in­de­pen­dence party CUP, king­maker for the pro-se­ces­sion­ists in the dis­missed 135-seat par­lia­ment, would win seven seats, down from a cur­rent 10. The CUP has said it would not take part in any election or­gan­ised by Madrid.

The pro-in­de­pen­dence coali­tion Junts pel Si, which pre­vi­ously held 62 seats, was split into par­ties PDeCat and ERC for the poll as they are un­likely to run on a sin­gle plat­form.- Full story @ time­so­fo­man.com/world

- Reuters

UNI­LAT­ERAL DEC­LA­RA­TION: Sacked Cata­lan Pres­i­dent Car­les Puigde­mont walks with his wife Marcela To­por dur­ing a walk­a­bout through the cen­tre the day af­ter the Cata­lan re­gional par­lia­ment de­clared in­de­pen­dence from Spain in Girona, Spain, on Oc­to­ber 28, 2017.

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