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Pro-independence parties retain majority in Catalan parliament with 95% of votes counted

December 22, 2017, 3:04 UTC+3 BARCELONA

The vote saw a record turnout of 81%

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BARCELONA, December 22. /TASS/. Pro-independence political forces are projected to have an absolute majority in the 135-seat Catalan parliament after 95% of votes counted in the region’s snap parliamentary polls on Thursday.

The vote saw a record turnout of 81%.

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 36 seats, while the regional branch of Spain’s ruling People's Party gets 4 seats. 17 mandates are projected to go to the pro-federalism Socialists' Party of Catalonia.

Once the final results are announced, the parties will begin negotiations on the region’s new government and its head.

The decision to have a snap election was made by the Madrid government at the end of October. It 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.

Puigdemont, who has fled to Belgium, is accused of rebellion and embezzlement. A national arrest warrant has been issued for him. However, the former head of Catalonia said his return to Spain is possible if his party wins the polls.

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