Ra­joy urges mas­sive vote on Cat­alo­nia

Business Day - - INTERNATIONAL - Agency Staff Madrid

Span­ish Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy says he hopes to de­feat separatists in De­cem­ber’s Cata­lan elec­tion and called for a “mas­sive” turnout by vot­ers.

“We’re go­ing to work so that in­de­pen­dence groups don’t win,” Ra­joy told Span­ish ra­dio.

The Cata­lan in­de­pen­dence cri­sis has trig­gered alarm in Brus­sels as the EU deals with the fall­out of Bri­tain’s planned de­par­ture from the EU.

More than 2,400 busi­nesses have moved their le­gal head­quar­ters out of Cat­alo­nia as un­cer­tainty per­sists.

Ra­joy dis­missed the Cat­alo­nian gov­ern­ment of for­mer leader Car­les Puigde­mont in Oc­to­ber over the in­de­pen­dence bid, sus­pend­ing the re­gional par­lia­ment and or­gan­is­ing a new elec­tion.

The prime min­is­ter has been ral­ly­ing sup­port for his Pop­u­lar Party in the De­cem­ber 21 elec­tion in Cat­alo­nia, a re­gion that re­mains deeply di­vided over in­de­pen­dence.

The Pop­u­lar Party fin­ished fifth in Cat­alo­nia’s 2015 elec­tion, in which pro-sep­a­ratist groups gained power in the re­gion of 7.5-mil­lion peo­ple.

The prime min­is­ter is­sued a call for mas­sive par­tic­i­pa­tion in the De­cem­ber 21 poll in the hope that vot­ers in favour of keep­ing Cat­alo­nia part of Spain put in a strong show­ing.

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