A pro-independence grouping has won the election for the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, causing something of a stir in business and political circles in Catalonia. Candidates for the pro-independence Catalan National Assembly (ANC) appear to have secured 32 of the 40 seats in the chamber, with the results still to be verified on Monday.
The head of the ANC, Elisenda Paluzie, congratulated the candidates and said “the shuttle service is over” in reference to the chamber’s traditionally strong links with Madrid businesses. President Quim Torra also congratulated the ANC candidates for their victory and praised their “very good work” in taking control of the chamber.
Yet, the unionist People’s Party candidate for Barcelona mayor, Josep Bou, called the result “very bad news” and attributed it to “colonizing separatism”.
The leader of the pro-independence grouping, Joan Canadell, said on Thursday that the victory will lead to “a 180-degree turn” in the corporation. According to Canadell, Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce will no longer “look to Madrid, the IBEX-35 [Spain’s stock market].”
“What if the Catalan businesspeople decided that, if fiscal sovereignty is needed, it has to be done? This is very important, and we can propose it, only the Chamber can propose it,” added Canadell.
Canadell is expected to become the chamber’s new president, but this is not guaranteed, as the largest Catalan firms have non-elected members outside the 40 elected seats, which could have an impact on the appointment of a president.