Catalan separatists won a crucial snap poll Thursday, plunging their region into further uncertainty after a failed independence bid rattled Europe and triggered Spain's worst political crisis in decades.
With turnout at a record high and 99 percent of the ballots counted, the election handed a mandate back to the region's ousted separatist leaders, even after they campaigned from exile and behind bars.
In a clear indicator of the huge gulf over independence afflicting Catalan society, anti-secessionist centrist party Ciudadanos was meanwhile on course to win the biggest individual result.
But unless the three pro-independence lists fail to clinch a deal to work together in the coming months, they will rule Catalonia with 70 percent of the 135 seats in parliament -- two less than their previous tally of 72.
- The vote takes place against a backdrop of political uncertainty after Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy dissolved the Catalan parliament, sacked regional leader Carles Puigdemont and imposed direct rule on the region in October. Four Catalan officials remain jailed on charges including sedition while Puigdemont and four former cabinet members remain in exile in Belgium.
- Marta Rovira, 40, of the pro-independence Republican Left party and Inés Arrimadas García, 36, of the anti-secession Citizens Party are the favourites to succeed Puigdemont as Catalonia's regional president.
FRANCE 24's live blog followed the vote as it happened.
Catalonia votes in decisive election
Date created : 2017-12-21