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Catalan separatist parties win parliament vote in Spain

By Shawn Price
Catalonian separatist parties won a majority in regional parliamentary elections Sunday. The winning Together for Yes block says it will declare independence from Spain within 18 months, while the Spanish government says all attempts to secede are a violation of Spain's Constitution. File photo by nito/Shutterstock
Catalonian separatist parties won a majority in regional parliamentary elections Sunday. The winning Together for Yes block says it will declare independence from Spain within 18 months, while the Spanish government says all attempts to secede are a violation of Spain's Constitution. File photo by nito/Shutterstock

BARCELONA, Spain, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Catalan separatist parties won a narrow majority in regional parliamentary elections in Spain on Sunday.

Two parties seeking Catalonian independence from Spain took a nine-seat majority after winning 72 spots in the 135-seat regional parliament.

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The results ensure greater tension over the move toward secession. The parties have vowed that winning the seats would allow the so-called Junts per Si, or Together for Yes, block of the Convergence party and the far-left separatist Popular Unity Candidacy party to declare independence within 18 months.

"We have a democratic mandate. We have won against all odds," Catalan leader Artur Mas told supporters in Barcelona. "Just as we, as democrats, would have accepted defeat, we ask that others recognize the victory of Catalonia and the victory of the Yes [block]," he said.

The Spanish government has repeatedly said it will not allow secession to happen, because it's a violation of the country's constitution and Spanish high courts would strike it down. Separatist politicians could also be suspended from office.

"We will continue to guarantee legality and the unity of Spain." Pablo Casado, spokesman for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party, said in a Sunday night news conference. "Secessionism tried to split Spain but didn't succeed, but it did manage to divide Catalonia."

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Casado called on Mas to resign or help heal the split the push for independence has caused within the region.

Despite high turnout for the election, polls still suggest Catalans want a referendum on independence and remain evenly divided over the issue.

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