Catalan Far Left Splits on Joining Region’s Government

Without the far left’s support, parties that want to break away from Spain may need to call snap elections.

Catalan regional president Artur Mas gives a radio interview, December 3
Catalan regional president Artur Mas gives a radio interview, December 3 (Generalitat de Catalunya)

A divided party congress in Catalonia on Sunday cast doubt on the region’s governability — and by extension its independence bid from Madrid.

Members of the far-left Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) split evenly on whether or not to support a separatist administration led by the caretaker regional president, Artur Mas.

Leaders said they would convene a meeting of elected and party officials in the new year to try to break the deadlock.

Should the CUP renege on its earlier promise to support Mas, Catalans may need to go back to the polls in 2016 in what would be the third election in four years.

Separatists divided

Mas’ broad left-wing alliance needs the CUP’s support for a majority in the regional parliament. In the last election, it fell six seats short of a majority.

Although the CUP wants to break away from Spain too, it is anticapitalist, anti-American and Euroskeptic. Mas’ liberal party, the biggest in the independence coalition, is pro-business and would want an independent Catalonia to stay in both NATO and the European Union.

The parties have already passed a law that sets Catalonia on a path to “disconnect” from the rest of Spain. It calls for the declaration of an independent republic in 2017.

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