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Pro-independence forces retain majority in Catalan parliament as vote count hits halfway

December 22, 2017, 0:56 UTC+3 BARCELONA

According to local authorities, the three pro-independence parties get 70 seats in the 135-seat legislature

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© AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

BARCELONA, December 22. /TASS/. Political forces that support Catalonia’s independence from Spain are projected to get an absolute majority in the local parliament with 55.53 of ballots already counted in Catalonia’s snap regional parliamentary polls on Thursday.

According to local authorities, the three pro-independence parties get 70 seats in the 135-seat legislature in total: the Together for Catalonia coalition by former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont currently gets 34 seats, Republican Left of Catalonia-Catalonia Yes by Puigdemont’s detained deputy Oriol Junqueras receives 32 mandates and the Popular Unity Candidacy party gets 4.

The unionist Citizens party gets 35 seats, while the regional branch of Spain’s ruling People's Party gets 4 seats. 18 mandates are projected to go to the pro-federalism Socialists' Party of Catalonia.

The decision to have a snap election was made by the Madrid government at the end of October. This was prompted by a major crisis breaking out after the parliament of Catalonia declared independence from Spain

On October 27, the parliament of Catalonia voted for a resolution proclaiming independence from Spain. Following this step, Spain’s Senate (upper parliament house) approved Madrid’s request to activate Article 155 of the constitution which had never been used before as it provides for limiting Catalonia’s autonomy.

Shortly after, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said it had been decided to relieve Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and his government of their duties. Apart from that, he dissolved the Catalan parliament and appointed early elections on December 21.

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