BARCELONA, Spain, July 15 (UPI) -- The two major pro-secessionist parties of Spain's Catalonia province announced they would run a unified slate of candidates in September's regional elections.
The decision by the ruling Democratic Convergence party and the opposition Republican Left of Catalonia, earlier this week, could invigorate a popular movement in the relatively prosperous province to declare its independence from Spain. Political leaders call the Sept. 27 vote a referendum on Catalonia's independence, which they say could come within six months of the election.
Enthusiasm for independence has declined since an informal referendum in November 2014. An October poll by Catalonia's Opinion Studies Center noted 49.4 percent of respondents approved of independence; it fell to 44.5 percent by December.
Catalonia accounts for one-quarter of Spain's exports, and has seen massive rallies supporting formation of an independent country. Supporters claim the administration of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy overtaxes the province without respecting its unique culture and heritage. Rajoy has said Catalonian independence would be unconstitutional.
The two parties said their slate of candidates would include prominent Catalans from civil society, an indication of voters' disenchantment with politicians.