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Anti-capitalist CUP party unable to agree on Catalan leadership vote

Failure to reach consensus leaves political process in northeastern region blocked

The first round of votes at the CUP assembly. Ver fotogalería
The first round of votes at the CUP assembly.

After three months of negotiations, Catalonia got no closer to agreeing on its next premier at the weekend. An assembly of members of radical left-wing party Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (CUP) – a small anti-capitalist party that supports leaving the euro zone and holds the key to power in the region – were unable to decide whether or not to support a vote that would see acting premier Artur Mas, of the pro-independence Junts pel Sí party, voted back into power in the Generalitat, as the regional parliament is known.

In the wake of the vote, CUP called on Junts pel Sí to come up with an alternative candidate for premier

The members of the anti-capitalist party took their internal divisions to an extreme at the weekend, with a tie at 1,515 votes. The result means that the situation remains at an impasse, after the September regional elections – cast by Mas as a de facto referendum on independence for Catalonia – gave no party a clear majority, but did give Junts pel Sí and CUP enough seats to form a government.

In the wake of the vote at the weekend, CUP once again called on Junts pel Sí to come up with an alternative candidate for premier, one that would be more favourable for the far-left group. Mas is viewed by many as having been tainted by various corruption scandals involving his party.

Mas, who has set himself up as the champion of the separatist drive in the region, had previously gone so far as to offer CUP a premiership split between four leaders, but he refuses to step aside.

The final decision on whether or not to support Mas will be taken by the Political Board of the CUP, which will meet on January 2. The deadline for voting in a new premier is January 10. If no agreement is reached, new elections will have to be held.

Junts pel Sí needs at least two deputies from the CUP to vote in favor of Mas, with the rest abstaining so that he can stay in power. Junts pel Sí – an alliance of several parties that include Mas’s own Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC), a liberal party with little sympathy for CUP’s leftist program – is insisting that Mas head up the project. The parties are determined to achieve independence for Catalonia, despite fierce opposition from Madrid.

English version by Simon Hunter.