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Russian expert stresses Catalan elections deal major blow to Madrid’s policies

December 22, 2017, 15:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Pro-independence political forces have once again won the absolute majority in the 135-seat parliament of the autonomous region

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© AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

MOSCOW, December 22. /TASS/. The results of the Catalan snap elections point to the failure of Madrid’s policy, Agnessa Avilova, Senior Researcher at the Moscow-based Institute of World Economics and International Relations (IMEMO) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said.

"The results of the vote signify a decisive victory for pro-independence backers," she emphasized. This is also a major setback for Madrid and personally for the head of the Spanish government, Mariano Rajoy, she pointed out.

Avilova also highlighted that Catalonia now faces "very hard times ahead because it is going to be very difficult to form a government." The pro-independence parties - Together for Catalonia (JuntsXCat) and the Republican Left of Catalonia (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, ERC) have disagreements on all items for their political programs. One camp is all conservatives and the other, all ultra-left radicals, she stressed. So, you still can’t make any predictions.

"If Catalans get to secede, it will complicate relations with the EU. Furthermore, this event will not only hold consequences for Spain, but for the entire EU, because being the first such victory, it will spark massive reverberations all across Europe," the researcher explained.

Speaking about the fate of the ex-leader of the Catalan independence movement, Carles Puigdemont, the expert noted that the outcome of the elections also signifies "his victory."

"He has been legitimized now because his party has won so many seats."

However, the expert noted that this is not that vital, since his major responsibility in the EU is to talk with Europeans and garner support for the idea of an independent Catalonia.

Snap elections

Early elections to the regional legislative assembly were held in Catalonia on Thursday. The autonomous region’s voter turnout hit a record high, exceeding 81%. The decision to hold the ballot was taken by the Spanish government at the end of October. Madrid took this step due to the biggest crisis in the country’s democratic history, which erupted after the Catalan Parliament declared its independence from Spain.

Pro-independence political forces have once again won the absolute majority in the 135-seat parliament of the autonomous region.

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