"The Catalan Republic has beaten the [article] 155 monarchy". That was the comment of Junts per Catalunya candidate, president Carles Puigdemont, after the pro-independence parties' victory, revalidating their absolute majority with 70 deputies. Puigdemont has appeared in Brussels accompanied by the ministers with him in the Belgian capital, both from his party and from ERC.
After the results became clear, Puigdemont argued that "Rajoy and his allies have lost" and asked for the end of article 155 measures, as well as saying that the "restitution of democracy and the legitimate government" is required. He also called for the release of the Catalan prisoners.
"They've lost the plebiscite they were looking for to legitimise the coup d'état of [article] 155", he said, adding that "Rajoy's recipe doesn't work". "Either he changes recipe or we'll change quicker than we had proposed."
As such, he called for a "political recipe" to Catalan demands. He said that the Spanish government as well as Spain's Ibex 35 stock index and Europe have to take note of the pro-independence win and "start to do politics". Puigdemont also noted that whilst pro-independence parties got 47.5% of the vote, supporters of a referendum have more than 50%.
Explosion of euphoria
Tonight's election results caused an explosion of euphoria at the election headquarters of JuntsXCat after their good results, ending up the second-largest party, and also for the revalidation of the pro-independence majority.
"Hello Soraya, Puigdemont's government has won. The polls have decapitated PP", said candidate and minister Jordi Turull, referring to comments by the Spanish deputy prime minister last weekend. Turull was speaking to the press at their headquarters in Barcelona. Also to speak was his fellow minister Josep Rull, who said that "it's impossible to imprison the democratic will of a people".
"[Article] 155 has lost. It's ended at the ballot boxes", said Elsa Artadi, Junts per Catalunya's campaign chief and number 10 on their list, who added "Puigdemont - 34, Rajoy - 4. Independence supporters - 70, 155 [supporters] - 57". Similar terms were used by the candidacy's spokesperson, Eduard Pujol, who said that the election has seen the defeat of the "a por ellos" (Go get 'em").
JuntsXCat win Girona and Lleida
JuntsXCat have shown themselves to be satisfied by the results, significantly better than those they were predicted by surveys. Whilst different surveys gave them between 24 and 30 seats, they finally won 34. What's more "the president's list" has won within the pro-independence camp, coming two seats ahead of ERC (32) whilst CUP only managed 4. The bloc as a whole revalidates its absolute majority, despite the victory of Ciutadans in terms of seats, having won 36.
The candidacy, set up barely over a month ago, has won in two of the four constituencies, Lleida and Girona, whilst Inés Arrimadas' party took Barcelona and Tarragona. In doing so, JuntsXCat has beaten ERC, their former colleagues in government by one in Lleida and three in Girona. On the other hand, Puigdemont's list came third in the other two provinces to Cs and ERC. In terms of counties, Puigdemont's list came first in 29 of the 42.
Strong media interest
Junts per Catalunya celebrated election night in Barcelona's Hotel Catalonia Eixample amidst strong media interest. Despite the party's candidate for president, Carles Puigdemont, having to follow the count from Belgium, 120 media outlets, including 63 from foreign countries, congregated at the hotel. The journalists came from different European countries like Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden, but also from further afield, from countries like the USA, Uruguay, Argentina, Australia, Qatar, China and Japan.
Their campaign was the one which made the greatest use of new technology, given the impossibility of their candidate attending election events. This included 12 live satellite connections, 20 recorded video messages and 10 events by videoconference. They also held 350 events around the whole country. Their final event was a simultaneous "megameeting" in 70 places around Catalonia attended by 5,000 people and followed by almost 60,000 more online. Their most-viewed video was the one recorded by Jordi Sànchez from within prison, which garnered 124,940 views.