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23 December, 2015

Pro-Independence Catalans draft deal on regional government

The deal stipulates the appointment of acting head of the regional government Artur Mas as Catalan president.

Pro-independence parties under the Junts pel Si (Together for Yes) coalition have reached a preliminary deal to form a regional government, they announced Tuesday.

The deal stipulates the appointment of acting head of the regional government and Junts pel Si leader Artur Mas as Catalan president. Even the anti-capitalist Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) have said they could now back Mas after snubbing his leadership in the past. The CUP will make a decision on Dec. 27.

The Parliament of Catalunya has twice voted against the candidacy of Mas for the post of president. If a final decision is not made by Jan. 9, the parliament will have to select an alternative candidate. Failure to do so could trigger fresh regional elections. Currently, nationalist parties have an absolute majority in the 135-seat regional assembly.

The deal takes place two days after Spain’s general elections that ended bipartisan hegemony, with the anti-austerity Podemos becoming the third most important political force in the country. The party, led by Pablo Iglesias, opposes Catalunya’s split from Spain but supports a referendum on the issue.

Catalunya is one of the wealthiest regions of Spain, comprising almost one-fifth of the struggling Spanish economy. Spain’s economic downturn, along with austerity policies and political scandals, have contributed to renewed interest in independence.


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