Separatist party wins EU vote in Spain’s Catalonia

Separatist party wins EU vote in Spain’s Catalonia

BARCELONA, May 25, 2014 (AFP) - Long-standing separatist party, the Republican Left, won the European Parliament elections in Spain's northeastern region of Catalonia on Sunday, official results showed.

The party captured 23.67 per cent of the vote, beating the conservative Convergence and Union party, the biggest formation in Catalonia's local parliament, which came in second with 21.86 per cent of the vote.

Both parties want to hold a referendum on independence from Spain on November 9, flying in the face of fierce opposition from the central government in Madrid.

The two formed a political alliance a month after regional elections in Catalonia in November 2012 but Convergence and Union is seen as more moderate and less ready to risk all-out confrontation with Madrid.

Catalonia political chief Artur Mas of the Convergence and Union party only began pushing for a referendum after he failed to clinch a better financial pact from the central government for Catalonia in 2012.

The small Catalan leftist ICV party captured 10.3 per cent of the vote in the European Parliament elections, meaning the three Catalan parties that back the referendum captured 55.83 per cent of the vote in Catalonia.

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