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  • Junts x Catalunya members raise up a Catalan flag as they celebrate the results of the European Parliament elections in Barcelona, Spain

    Junts x Catalunya members raise up a Catalan flag as they celebrate the results of the European Parliament elections in Barcelona, Spain | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 May 2019

The list of the ex-president received 28 percent of votes in Catalonia, which will also allow him to bring to Brussels former legislator and counselor Toni Comin.

Catalan pro-independence leaders Carles Puigdemont and Oriol Junqueras have won seats in the European Parliament, as the election process wrap-ups in the 28 member-states. While the Prime Minister’s Pedro Sanchez Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) took the overall win. 

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“The result is a push for the Republic, for independence and for freedom. Independentism reaches the highest percentage in an election,” the former president of Catalonia tweeted on Sunday after learning the results. From May 23 to 26, the European Union’s (EU) 28 member states chose a total of 751 Members for the European Parliament (MEPs). 

The list of the ex-president received 28 percent of votes in Catalonia, which will also allow him to bring to Brussels former legislator and counselor Toni Comin. While Oriol Junqueras’ list, a coalition between Bildu and BNG, obtained three seats with 21 percent of the vote in the autonomous region.  

A Madrid court ruled on May 6 that Puigdemont could run for the post after Spain's electoral commission last month barred him and two other fugitive Catalan politicians from running due to an “unauthorized” breakaway referendum done in 2017, which resulted in a majority votes for independence.

After the controversial vote, the Catalan government was dissolved and he and four more official fled Spain to Belgium. The Spanish government tried to extradite the accused Catalan leaders but the legal process failed or was delayed. On July 10, 2018, a Supreme Court judge suspended him as a deputy in the Catalan parliament and nine days later, Spain dropped the European Arrest Warrants against Puigdemont and other Catalan officials in exile.

Yet the night’s big winner was the centrist Socialists that as Sanchez said at a news conference are “by far, the first political force in Spain.” Spain is entitled to 54 seats in EU Parliament, the PSOE got 20 MEPs, followed by the right-wing Popular Party (PP) and Citizens with 12 and seven respectively, left-wing United We Can with six - losing five since last elections in 2014 -; and the far-right Vox with three seats.

This renewed strength for Spanish Socialists has invigorated the party’s confidence. Madrid is likely to aim for the EU’s top foreign policy job and for a vice presidency at the European Commission, government sources have said in recent days.

On Sunday, Spaniards also voted for local authorities. Although the Socialists (33 percent) won more votes than any other party nationwide, the election was very fragmented as conservatives, center-right and far-right together were set to win in key cities and regions like Madrid.

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