Catalan Separatist Win Leaves Rajoy Counting Crackdown Cost

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Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is meeting with allies this morning to plot his next move after a drubbing in Thursday’s Catalan election that saw separatists reclaim control of the regional assembly.

Rajoy headed to a 9:30 a.m. cabinet meeting in Madrid and planned to sit down with his People’s Party leadership later in the day, with the resurgent Catalan independence campaign at the top of the agenda. The PP lost eight of its 11 seats in the region’s parliament as ousted President Carles Puigdemont’s party confounded projections to become the biggest group in a three-way separatist bloc. Spanish bonds fell with bank stocks. The result — which the separatists achieved with only 47.5 percent of the vote — doesn’t bring real independence any closer than it was at the end of October, when Puigdemont fled for Belgium to escape a Spanish court probe that resulted in a clutch of his allies being jailed. But it exposes the flaws in Rajoy’s strategy and the divisions in Catalan society, testing international support again for his hardline approach.

 “This is the moment, both for the separatists and for the Spanish government, to begin talks again,” Elmar Brok, a German lawmaker in the European Parliament and ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, said in an interview on Deutschlandfunk radio. “This is not a broad mandate for Catalonian independence and that’s why a serious effort should now be made to find a solution that is fair for everyone.” …
Read more : Bloomberg, 21.12.2017