July 12, 2015 / 3:20 PM / 2 years ago

Splintered Catalan independence parties must unite to win vote: poll

Catalonia's President Artur Mas testifies in the Committee on Institucional Affairs at Catalonia's Parliament in Barcelona February 9, 2015. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

MADRID (Reuters) - Catalan parties favoring a split from Spain can only win a majority in regional elections in September if they run as an alliance, a poll showed on Sunday, as the campaign for independence shows signs of flagging.

In recent months, political infighting and the emergence of popular parties more interested in social and economic issues have weakened support for secessionist groups in Catalonia, a wealthy northeastern region.

The three main parties in favor of independence would have to run a joint list to win a majority of 68 seats or more in the vote, a Feedback poll in La Vanguardia newspaper said.

Catalonia’s pro-independence regional president, Artur Mas, has called for the parties to unite and start working on a “roadmap” for secession if they win.

But his own centre-right CDC party has so far struggled to reach a deal with rival secessionist factions. It has also been weakened after splitting from its long-term ally in the coalition known as Convergencia I Unio (CiU).

In the last regional elections held in 2012, CiU and the left-leaning ERC together won a majority, with 71 seats.

ERC is now instead suggesting creating a joint list led by citizen campaigners, rather than politicians.

Grassroots activists have rallied support for independence in recent years, organizing huge demonstrations and helping to stage a mock referendum on secession last November.

Even though a majority of people in the region still want a say on their sovereignty, a poll by the regional government in early July showed support for a split with Spain falling to 42.9 percent, from 44 percent in March.

That poll, as well as the one published in La Vanguardia on Sunday, showed most people would vote for parties based on their economic policies, with a much smaller proportion influenced primarily by their stance on independence.

Reporting by Sarah White and Blanca Rodriguez; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Digby Lidstone

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