Spain must ‘vote in droves’
PRIME MINISTER: HOPES TO DEFEAT SEPARATISTS IN DECEMBER CATALAN ELECTION
Strong showing if parties want to keep Catalonia part of his country, Rajoy says.
Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, hopes to defeat separatists in next month’s Catalan election – which will be dominated by regional lawmakers’ independence drive – calling for a “massive” turnout by voters.
“We’re going to work so that independence groups don’t win,” Rajoy told Spanish radio yesterday.
The Catalan independence crisis has triggered alarm in Brussels as the European Union deals with the fallout of Brexit. More than 2 400 businesses have moved their legal headquarters out of the region as uncertainty persists. Rajoy dismissed the government of Catalan ex-leader Carles Puigdemont last month over his independence bid, suspending the regional parliament and organising a new election.
The prime minister has been rallying support for his Popular Party (PP) in the December 21 election. The PP only managed to finish fifth in Catalonia’s 2015 election, which saw pro-separatist groups gain power in the region of 7.5 million people.
Yesterday, Rajoy issued “a call for massive participation” from voters on December 21 in the hope that parties in favour of keeping Catalonia part of Spain put in a strong showing.
Several former Catalan Cabinet members are in jail over their role in agitating for independence, which is illegal under Spain’s constitution.
Rajoy said there was no ban on detained officials contesting the regional vote.