Double blow for Catalan independence movement

FOUR key members of the movement for Catalan independence have been denied bail as new polls suggest pro-independence parties could lose their majority.

The former Catalan vice-president, Oriol Junqueras, a former cabinet member, Joaquim Form and the leaders of two civic groups were denied bail.

Meanwhile, the latest poll predicts pro-independence groups will win only 67 of 135 seats in the December 21 regional elections, five short of their total in 2015.

The percentage share of the vote is set to remain similar, according to the Sociological Research Centre poll, but with pro-independence parties now running separately, their majority could be lost.

Previous polls had shown anti and pro independence blocs running neck and neck.

Today´s Supreme Court ruling did allow bail to be set at €100,000 for six other former cabinet members.

But Junqueras, Form and the leaders of Asemblea Nacional Catalana and Omnium Cultural – Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart – will remain in jail. 

The judge said he was concerned that the four might break the law if released, but added that he did not believe they would leave Spain.

The former Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, remains in Belgium, alongside four other former cabinet ministers.

He had fled the country after being sacked by the Spanish government for pushing ahead with plans for independence, following the Catalan referendum.

A Belgian judge will reportedly decide whether to execute an international arrest warrant for Puigdemont in the week before the vote. 

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