Catalan separatists set to reclaim absolute majority: partial results

Catalan separatists set to reclaim absolute majority: partial results

The Spanish government called the election after it took the unprecedented step of stripping Catalonia of its treasured autonomy in the aftermath of an independence declaration on October 27 that rattled a Europe already shaken by Brexit.

The party of ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has claimed victory for the separatist bloc in the regional election.

The election pits Catalan pro-independence parties against those who want the region to remain a semi-autonomous part of Spain.

The three pro-independence lists-Together for Catalonia, leftist ERC and radical left CUP parties-appeared set to win 70 of the 135 seats in parliament - two less than their previous tally of 72 seats in 2015. It will also be closely watched beyond the country's borders.

Catalans began voting for a new administration in an election many hope will resolve Spain's worst crisis in decades after the region declared independence leading Madrid to sack local leaders.

But with their camp in disarray, secessionists would likely put their independence drive on hold should they win Thursday's vote.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his conservative cabinet tried to nip the independence movement in the bud, sacking the regional government and dissolving its parliament.

"We are very close to making our dream come true", Arrimadas told supporters at a rally Tuesday in a working-class district of Barcelona.

"We are going to wake up from this nightmare on Thursday", she added.

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