Spain

Spain

OPINION: The UK blew its precious chance to guarantee our post-Brexit rights

Theresa May’s letter to UK nationals living in Europe on the progress of Brexit negotiations is likely to prompt us to save up Brussels sprouts for a New Year’s pelting ceremony at Downing Street, writes Laura Shields from citizens' group British in Europe. In the spirit of yuletide joy, I suppose we should be grateful that we have a letter at all…even if it comes a week after the one she sent to the 3.3 million Europeans living in London and is clearly a cut and pasted version of that. But to avoid being churlish, let’s look at what comfort we can draw from her claim to have successfully brokered a reciprocal deal to secure our rights against of those of the 3 million Europeans living in the UK. If you are a pensioner or someone who doesn’t need to travel or move around for work then perhaps you’ll feel like raising a glass of mulled wine to toast Mrs May’s success at securing our residence, healthcare and social security rights. READ ALSO: Photo: AFP Unfortunat..

Spain

Winners and losers: Five takeaways from the Catalan election

It was a great result for Puigdemont and Arrimadas but not so for PM Rajoy. Photo: AFP It’s been a rollercoaster few months in Catalonia; violence at the polls during a banned referendum, a unilateral declaration of independence swiftly followed by the imposing of Article 155 and a suspension of home rule by the Spanish government. In an election called by Madrid that was all about the strength of support for independence and how the central government of Mariano Rajoy has handled the situation, what exactly do the results tell us? A victory for separatists Thursday's election delivered a mandate back to the region's ousted separatist leaders after they campaigned from exile and behind bars. With 68 seats needed for an overall majority in the 135-seat parliament, those parties who support breaking away from Spain managed to maintain their position as the largest grouping. The three secessionist parties won a combined 70 seats – that’s two less than they ..

Spain

A ‘bitter victory’ for separatists in Catalonia after divided vote

Separatists celebrate the results late Thursday. Photo: AFP Catalonia plunged into further uncertainty Friday after separatists won a crucial snap poll called following a failed independence bid that rattled Europe and triggered Spain's worst political crisis in decades. With turnout at a record high of 82 percent, Thursday's election handed a mandate back to the region's ousted separatist leaders after they campaigned from exile and behind bars. In a clear indicator of the huge gulf over independence afflicting Catalan society, anti-secessionist centrist party Ciudadanos won the biggest individual result with 37 of the 135 seats in the regional parliament. But unless the three pro-independence lists fail to clinch a deal to work together in the coming months, they will rule Catalonia with 70 seats — two less than their previous tally. AS-IT-HAPPENED Catalans vote in decisive election For Catalans on both sides of the divide the day had been a mom..

Spain

Catalan separatists set to reclaim absolute majority

Ousted leader Carles Puigdemont watched the results from Brussels. Photo: AFP Catalan separatist parties looked set to win back their absolute majority in a crucial vote Thursday, though anti-independence Ciudadanos had scored the best individual result, a partial count showed. Together, the pro-independence Together for Catalonia, leftist ERC and radical left CUP parties were on course to take 70 seats — an absolute majority in a 135-seat parliament. Those results at 2120 GMT were based on a count of just over 65 percent of the total number of votes. The final count, expected later Thursday, could still turn the trend. As-it-happened: Catalans vote in decisive election Ciudadanos, a centrist party formed in 2006 to counter Catalan separatism, looked set to win its best ever result: 25 percent of votes and 35 seats. But even if Ciudadanos goes into coalition with the remaining contenders, it is almost impossible for pro-unity parties to end up governing, except i..

Spain

Murder case in French Alps sparks serial killer fears

Police in the French Alps are re-examining a host of missing people cases after charging a man on Wednesday over a second abduction and murder in the area. Nordahl Lelandais, a former military dog trainer, was charged with the murder of Arthur Noyer, a 24-year-old soldier who was last seen in the early hours of April 12 hitchhiking in the town of Chambery after leaving a nightclub. Lelandais was previously charged for the abduction and murder in August of an eight-year-old girl named Maelys de Araujo who disappeared from a wedding only a half-hour drive from Chambery. READ ALSO: The story of the missing French girl and the suspect who denies everything "Obviously along with the police, we will be looking into all of the worrying disappearances which have taken place in the region," prosecutor Thierry Dran told a news conference. Investigators probing the Maelys case found that Lelandais' cell phone had been in the same area at the same time as Noyer, who served in ..

Spain

What would an independent Catalonia look like?

Aden Hayes examines what might happen if the Catalan election goes the way of the separatists and they reach their dream of breaking away from Spain and declaring an independent nation. Catalans of all stripes go to the polls today to vote in a new parliament, following the imposition of direct rule from Madrid, and the scrapping of a unilateral declaration of independence for Catalonia by members of the former parliament. LIVE: Catalans vote in decisive election The latest voter surveys – five were published last week – show clearly that no party can achieve a majority, and all indicate a very close race between the three parties that have promised independence, and the three that favor continued unity with the rest of Spain. READ MORE: Latest polls show separatists could lose absolute majority in vote In the middle lies the anti-capitalist / hard left coalition that holds power in Barcelona, and could be the kingmaker. This group has made equivocal pronouncements about..

Spain

Independence or not? Catalans vote in decisive election

The polling stations have opened in Catalonia. Photo: AFP Catalans take their independence struggle to the polls today in a hotly-contested election that could mark a turning point for their region just two months after a secession bid ended in failure. The vote pits leaders of the wealthy northeastern region's separatist movement against parties that want to remain in Spain, and opinion polls suggest both sides' leading candidates are neck-and-neck. Will voters again hand victory to pro-independence parties that tried to break Catalonia from Spain, one of whose candidates is in jail and the other in self-imposed exile in Belgium? Or will they lose the absolute parliamentary majority of 72 seats they won in 2015 in what would be a stunning upset for the region's secessionist drive? At stake is the economy of a region that has seen its tourism sector suffer and more than 3,000 companies move their legal headquarters since Catalan leaders held a bann..

Spain

Murder case in French Alps sparks serial killer fears

Police in the French Alps are re-examining a host of missing people cases after charging a man on Wednesday over a second abduction and murder in the area. Nordahl Lelandais, a former military dog trainer, was charged with the murder of Arthur Noyer, a 24-year-old soldier who was last seen in the early hours of April 12 hitchhiking in the town of Chambery after leaving a nightclub. Lelandais was previously charged for the abduction and murder in August of an eight-year-old girl named Maelys de Araujo who disappeared from a wedding only a half-hour drive from Chambery. READ ALSO: The story of the missing French girl and the suspect who denies everything "Obviously along with the police, we will be looking into all of the worrying disappearances which have taken place in the region," prosecutor Thierry Dran told a news conference. Investigators probing the Maelys case found that Lelandais' cell phone had been in the same area at the same time as Noyer, who served in ..

Spain

Divided Catalans face moment of truth on independence bid

People wave flags and hold banners demanding freedom for jailed separatists leaders as they watch deposed Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont speaking via video-conference from Brussels durin Catalans were anxiously preparing Wednesday for a decisive regional vote, hoping it will help settle the bitter dispute over independence from Spain that has divided their region and rattled Europe. The election pits leaders of the wealthy northeastern region's separatist movement against candidates who want to stay part of Spain. Record turnout is expected but with pro- and anti-independence candidates neck-and-neck in opinion polls, neither side is likely to win a clear majority. The regional election is being closely watched across a European Union still reeling from Britain's shock decision to leave the bloc, and wary about any breakup of the eurozone's fourth-largest economy. 'Extreme' positions The separatist drive has inflamed passions..

Spain

ANALYSIS Even if separatist parties win the Catalan election, international law doesn’t provide a right to independence

Candidates for the pro-independence CUP party at a campaign rally. Photo: AFP Voters in Catalonia will go to the polls on December 21st in an election triggered by the recent crisis over the region’s declaration of independence from Spain. By George Revel, University of Leicester If separatist parities succeed at the ballot box it’s likely they will claim this as a legitimate mandate for independence. But this is not a sound interpretation of the international law of self-determination – and the result of the election cannot be seen as a proxy for independence. Both those for and against the region’s right to claim independence from Spain argue that their position is grounded in international law. The Catalan government, prior to being deposed on October 27th, claimed that the international right of all peoples to self-determination afforded the region the “right to independence” and the international legitimacy of their expectations – an argument supported by some co..

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