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Spain: Catalonia election set to give victory to pro-independence parties

Catalan pro-independence parties look set to hold on to their absolute majority in Thursday’s snap regional elections, dealing a severe blow to the Spanish government, which called the polls in the hope of heading off the secessionist threat.

With 90% of the votes counted, the three separatist parties are on course to win 70 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament even though the centre-right Citizens party appears to be the single party with the most seats.

Together for Catalonia, the party led by deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, is expected to take 34 seats, the Catalan Republican Left 32 and the far-left, anti-capitalist Popular Unity Candidacy four. Between them, they will have enough seats to reassemble the parliamentary majority that put them into office after the 2015 elections.

The Citizens party, which has taken a fiercely anti-independence stance, is on track to win 36 seats, the Catalan socialist party 17, Catalunya en Comú-Podem (the Catalan version of the anti-austerity Podemos party) eight and the conservative People’s party four.

Xavier Albiol, the leader of the Catalan People’s party, congratulated the Citizens party on its results and conceded it had not gone well for his own party.

Thursday’s vote is the latest chapter in the extraordinary showdown that has pitched the defiantly separatist former government of Catalonia against the Madrid authorities and brought about Spain’s worst political crisis since its return to democracy four decades ago.

Read more: Catalonia election set to give victory to pro-independence parties | World news | The Guardian

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