Germany Warns Against Pro-Independence Calls to Disobey Spanish Laws

The German government has asked Catalonia's pro-independence parties to respect European and Spanish law, after the two pro-independence parties in the region collectively won a majority in local parliamentary elections and hailed the result as a "democratic mandate" to declare independence from Spain.

The result of Sunday's election saw pro-independence alliance Junts pel Sí (Together for Yes) win 62 seats and the more radical and anti-capitalist independence party CUP win 10 seats, meaning a coalition would put them above the 68-seat threshold needed for a majority in the regional parliament. Junts pel Sí announced on Monday that they would begin talks with CUP about setting up a "roadmap" for "constructing the state of Catalonia."

Junts leader Artur Mas said that formal negotiations with CUP had not begun, however he said that "the 62 MPs from Junts pel Sí and the 10 from the CUP have the responsibility to preserve the excellent maxim of constructing a state of Catalonia," Catalan daily newspaper La Vanguardia reports.

Meanwhile CUP leader Antonio Baños hailed his party's result by declaring that "Catalan sovereignty can disobey all Spanish law," Spanish national daily El País reports. The Spanish government has objected to the secessionists stated desire to declare independence unilaterally by saying that it is not allowed under Spain's constitution.

Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for the German government, responded to the Catalan result in a press conference shortly afterwards, urging the region to respect European and Spanish laws, El País reported. He reiterated what he had said in previous statements concerning the regional elections - that they are a matter for the Spanish rather than German government to take a position on.

"We are convinced that in light of what's happening at the moment, it is important to maintain the rule of law, both with regard to EU treaties and with regard to national law, i.e. the Spanish constitution," the German spokesman said.

On Monday afternoon, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, whose ruling Partido Popular won only 11 seats in the Catalan parliament, called for calm across the country in a press conference and claimed the result showed that those pushing for a break with Spain do not have the backing of either the electorate or of the rule of law, La Vanguardia reports.

The leader of Spain's opposition PSOE, Pedro Sánchez, echoed Rajoy, highlighting that Junts pel Sí may have won the most seats in the election but the majority of Catalan citizens had voted for anti-independence parties.

"The majority of Catalans voted yesterday that they do not want independence," Sánchez said, adding that Junts pel Sí now had a mandate to ensure stability in the region and not to form coalitions with the anti-capitalist CUP according to the live-blog of La Vanguardia.

Albert Rivera whose anti-independence Ciutadans party finished second, with 25 seats, beating both major national parties and the left-wing Podemos, said he felt his party's result had prevented the independence movement from claiming a decisive victory.

Podemos-backed Catalunya Sí que es Pot meanwhile did not manage to convert their momentum nationally into a strong result in Catalonia, winning a disappointing 11 seats.

Rajoy finished his press conference by saying that he had not spoken to Sánchez or other national party leaders about the election but said that dialogue was possible.