Catalan elections: Analysts predict government formation won't be easy for Puigdemont

Puigdemont who slipped out of Spain at the height of the Catalan separatist movement might just be arrested the minute he returns to Madrid. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 22, 2017, 05.49 AM (IST) Padma Rao Sundarji

The wait is over, Catalonia's three pro-independence parties including that of exiled leader Carles Puigdemont have together won 70 seats out of 135 in the snap polls in the Catalan elections.

However, the big question remains whether the new government in Spain's richest province will now separate from Spain. Experts say not quite as the pro-Madrid citizen's party with 36 seats has emerged as the single largest winner with the tally for the separatists reflecting an overall drop in their popularity.

In fact, spokesman for the citizen's party, Ines Arrimadas said the independence movement does not represent the future for Catalans.

Even as champagne flows on the streets of Catalonia, separatist leader Puigdemont on a self-imposed exile in Brussels is now getting set to open talks with the other two victorious separatist groups to try and bridge differences between them, clearly, the road ahead for Puigdemont won't be as easy as it looks for pro-Catalan supporters.

Puigdemont who slipped out of Spain at the height of the Catalan separatist movement and took "refuge" in Brussels has a few headaches of his own, he just might be arrested the minute he returns to Spain.

Puigdemont former deputy Oriol Junqeras is already behind bars and has indicated his party might be willing to strike a deal with Spain's central government, a move which will no doubt be a huge setback for Puigdemont.

Analysts predict stormy weeks ahead as efforts begin to form a government.

The elections have clearly shown Catalan society is split down the middle between separatists and pro-Madrid nationalists, if it is not bridged soon Spain's PM Mariano Rajoy and Catalan leaders may find themselves facing elections again both at the regional and national level.

Catalonia just may have to wait a long time before it can have a new regional government.