Catalonia Faces a Crucial Election on December 21
Catalonia faces a crucial election on December 21 that will determine whether Spain is on-course to tackle the northeastern region’s independence push — its gravest political crisis in the past four decades — or be mired in uncertainty for months or years.
The ballot will take place under unprecedented circumstances, both in Spain and Western Europe. The former Catalan regional Cabinet was sacked by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who imposed direct rule on the rebel region after it unilaterally declared independence from Spain. Four Catalan activists and officials — including former Vice President Oriol Junqueras — are behind bars in provisional detention pending an investigation on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds. Ousted President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont and four former Cabinet members fled to Belgium, from where they’re fighting an extradition request by Spain on the same charges and from where they will campaign.
The latest surveys have the camps neck-and-neck. On Monday, a poll by the publicly funded Center for Sociological Research put the pro-unity Ciudadanos in the lead and the independence camp falling short of a majority in the regional legislature, while other polls give the separatists a ruling majority. The official electoral campaign kicked off in the early morning of Tuesday.
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