24pc Catalans want independence: poll

24pc Catalans want independence: poll

According to a poll, only 24 per cent of Catalans want to continue with a plan to claim independence from Spain after the emergency December 21 regional election.

El Pais newspaper published a study following the illegal Catalan independence referendum on October 1 and the sacking of the secessionist administration by the Madrid authorities.

Metroscopia said it found that 24 per cent of respondents would like to continue with the independence process after the election and 71 per cent reportedly said they wanted an agreement based on Catalonia remaining in Spain.

Self-exiled former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said at the weekend that the December 21 election would be the most important in the region’s history.

Puigdemont has reiterated his demand for an independent state while his former ally, Esquerra Republicana, suggested the party should focus on policy issues instead. Meanwhile, Puigdemont’s own party coordinator has suggested abandoning a unilateral claim for independence in favour of talks with Madrid.

Pro-independence parties currently hold a majority of seats in the Catalan parliament but in next month’s election they may lose their grip on the legislature, the polling of 1,800 Catalan residents suggested.

The survey did admit support was evenly split, making predictions unreliable.

Catalan separatists claim the election is a plebiscite on Madrid’s decision to impose direct rule last month.

Pro-independence parties are predicted to win 46 per cent of the vote, down slightly from the 47.7 per cent in the 2015 election.

Pro-union parties were set to secure about 46 per cent of the vote, compared to less than 40 per cent in the last election, Metroscopia estimated.

“Puigdemont is pursuing his personal agenda and his party needs independence to stay competitive in the election,” said Ignacio Molina of the Madrid-based think-tank Elcano. “It’s become clear that the unilateral stance has its limits and the state has the tools to stop it, so the only way forward is to moderate the language after the campaign.”

Turnout is predicted to reach a record 80 per cent on December 21.

Spain’s finance minister Luis de Guindos said markets would interpret any decline in support for pro-independence parties as a defeat for the movement that served as a catalyst for Spanish equities and risk premiums.

Barcelona before the October 1 referendum. Picture credit: Wikimedia

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