A double victory for the Catalan independence movement in the May 26th elections. Exiled president Carles Puigdemont has led JxCat (Together for Catalonia) to a clear win in the EU elections in Catalonia, ahead of the Catalan Socialists (PSC) and the Republican Left (ERC), and Ernest Maragall has beaten Ada Colau in the municipal race in Barcelona. ERC is the largest municipal force across Catalonia in votes and councillors, although JxCat is ahead in the total number of mayoralties won. The Socialists have recovered some of the ground lost in recent years.
With 99.97% of votes counted, Catalan president in exile Carles Puigdemont has won the European elections in Catalonia with 28.52% of votes cast, leading the Lliures per Europa (JxCat-Junts) bid. Both Puigdemont and exiled Catalan health minister Toni Comín will now be able take places in the European Parliament.
The Catalan Socialists (PSC), with a list headed by Javi López, is second in Catalonia with 22.14%. Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras, imprisoned in Madrid, who leads the Ahora Repúblicas list which includes the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), and left-wing Basque and Galician parties, Bildu and BNG, was in third place with 21.18%. ERC's Diana Riba also wins a seat in Brussels as part of that list.
Ciudadanos are in fourth place in Catalonia with 8.63%, followed by Catalunya En Comú-Podem with 8.44% and the PP with 5.17%. Far-right Vox is seventh, with 1.99% of the votes.
For the second time, Puigdemont has come out on top in the duel with Junqueras, after earlier beating his pro-independence rival in the 2017 Catalan elections. JxCat displaces ERC as the largest Catalan party in the EU elections, with the Republican Left failing to replicate their historic victory in last month's Spanish general elections.
In 2014, ERC took first place in the EU elections from the now defunct CiU, but now they are the third force after the PSC. The Socialists have recovered strength, driven by Pedro Sánchez's victory in April.
ERC victories in Barcelona and Lleida
In Barcelona, Ernest Maragall won an historic victory for ERC to defeat sitting mayor Ada Colau in an extremely tight contest, ending up with a tie between the Republicans and the Commons at 10 councillors apiece and little more than 4,800 votes of difference in favour of ERC. The party has thus doubled its representation while BComú has lost one of the 11 councillors it won in the municipal election of 2015.
And ERC obtained a second historic victory on Sunday in the city of Lleida, where ERC won the town hall from the PSC after 40 years, in a second race with a very fine margin: 80 votes' difference. Marta Madrenas, of JxCat, will keep the mayoralty of Girona which she inherited from Puigdemont in 2016 when he left the city to join the Catalan government. In Tarragona, the PSC's Josep Fèlix Ballesteros managed to win for the third time.
The magic figure of 50%
The Catalan pro-independence vote is on the cusp of breaking through the barrier of 50% of votes in these European elections, the first time this has occurred in any election. The two candidatures led by Puigdemont and Junqueras add up to 49.71% and 1,720,000 votes. The unionist parties (PSC, Cs, PP and Vox) are far from this level, with 37.93% and 1,312,000 votes. Catalunya en Comú-Podem, which defends Catalonia's right to decide its future but doesn't back independence, holds the balance, with 292,000 votes and 8.44%.