Catalan Independence Push Breaks Mas Party as Ally Drops Out

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Catalan President Artur Mas’s political group, Convergencia i Unio, broke up after one faction voted against the regional leader’s plan for independence from Spain.

The two parties that make up CiU won’t run on a common platform in the regional election set for Sept. 27, Josep Rull, the general secretary of Convergencia, the bigger of the two groups, said at a press conference in Barcelona Thursday. Unio members voted narrowly against backing Mas’s plan to break away from Spain on Sunday.

“The political project of the Federation of Convergencia and Unio is done,” said Rull. “It doesn’t make sense any longer.”

Convergencia and Unio have run on a joint platform in regional and general elections since 1978 and during that time they’ve supported both Socialist and People’s Party governments at the national level. Mas plans to make a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain if separatist groups win a majority in the regional ballot and the central government refuses to negotiate.

“Calling elections and choosing the parliament is absolutely legal. But if, after that, someone aims to breach the law, then the government tells Spaniards that it’ll watch for the laws to be observed,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in a separated event in Madrid on Thursday. “In particular, if someone seeks to violate the national sovereignty.”

Mas is already working to build state institutions and expanding the regional tax agency.

Three Unio members in the regional government stepped down on Wednesday after almost 51 percent of party members rejected the independence plan. About 46 percent endorsed it.

The split will also mean changes for the CiU group of lawmakers in the national parliament in Madrid, Rull said.

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