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Key Figures in the Independence Battle of Spain’s Catalonia Region

  • VOA News

People walk past a Spanish and an estelada, or independence flag, hanging up for sale in a shop in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 11, 2017.

Key figures in the push for independence in Spain’s Catalonia region:

Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont addresses to the media after a ceremony commemorating the 77th anniversary of the death of Catalan leader Lluis Companys at the Montjuic Cemetery in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 15, 2017.
Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont addresses to the media after a ceremony commemorating the 77th anniversary of the death of Catalan leader Lluis Companys at the Montjuic Cemetery in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 15, 2017.

Carles Puigdemont

  • President of the autonomous region since January 2016
  • Worked as a journalist before entering politics
  • Served as mayor of the city of Girona
  • Has long been an advocate of independence for Catalonia
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gestures as he delivers a statement at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Oct. 11, 2017.
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gestures as he delivers a statement at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Oct. 11, 2017.

Mariano Rajoy

  • Prime minister of Spain since December 2011
  • Championed austerity measures in response to the country’s financial crisis
  • Faced public opposition and his Popular Party lost its parliamentary majority in 2015
  • For the past year he has led a minority government
  • Has strongly opposed Catalonia’s independence efforts

Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart

  • Key figures in the Catalonia separatist movement
  • Sanchez heads the Catalan National Assembly
  • Cuixart leads Omnium Cultural
  • Both were arrested on accusations they provoked violence against police during a pro-independence march last month
  • Tens of thousands of people gathered to protest their detention
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