November 13, 2015 / 5:34 PM / in 2 years

Catalan separatists would win majority of votes if new election held: poll

MADRID (Reuters) - Catalan separatists would win a majority of votes and of seats in the regional parliament if an election were held today, an official opinion poll showed on Friday.

Junts Pel Si (Together For Yes) supporters wear pro-independence "Estelada" flag shirts during a gathering to follow election results after polls closed in a regional parliamentary election in Barcelona, Spain, September 27, 2015.REUTERS/Andrea Comas

The pro-independence Junts pel Si (Together for Yes) and the far-left CUP obtained a majority in the regional parliament in local elections in September and this week they passed a resolution calling for secession from Spain.

But despite the two parties’ dominance of the Barcelona parliament they have struggled to elect a new president for the region because the CUP rejects the candidate of Junts pel Si, current acting regional head Artur Mas.

A failure to agree on a joint candidate could trigger another regional election early next year.

The survey from the Barcelona-based Centre d‘Estudis d‘Opinio (CEO), which is funded by the regional government, showed a new election would produce almost identical results for JpS, with 39.8 percent of the vote compared to 39.6 percent in September while CUP would rise to 11.1 percent from 8.2 percent.

The two parties, which jointly obtained 47.8 percent of the vote in the election Sept. 27, would now achieve 50.9 percent and between 75 to 79 seats in the 135-strong assembly, up from 72 seats now.

But although the pro-independence camp would gain more votes, a narrow majority of Catalans, or 47.8 percent, still reject a move to separate from the rest of Spain, more than the 46.7 percent in favor, the survey showed.

The poll surveyed 2,000 people between Oct. 5 and Oct. 27.

After the Catalan parliament’s backing for the independence resolution on Monday, Spain’s Constitutional Court blocked the secession process by agreeing to hear an appeal from the Madrid government, deepening the standoff with Madrid.

The two leading parties in the Catalan parliament have vowed to ignore the rulings of the Constitutional Court.

The clash between Madrid and the wealthy region of Catalonia, which accounts for about a fifth of Spain’s total economic output, has escalated just weeks before a national election in December and has dominated political campaigning.

Reporting by Raquel Castillo, writing by Paul Day; Editing by Julien Toyer and Gareth Jones

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