Voters in Catalonia have backed pro-independence parties in a snap election that was held on Thursday, dealing a major blow to the Spanish government, The Guardian reported. Spain had sought to quell the secessionist movement with this election.
The three separatist parties won 70 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament, even though the centre-right, pro-unionist Citizens party won the most seats, 36. More than 80% of the electorate turned up to vote.
The Spanish government led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had called the election on October 30 after it rejected the Catalan declaration of independence. The Spanish government also dissolved the Catalan government, dismissed its leaders and initiated legal proceedings against them.
Deposed Catalan President Carles Puigdemont’s party Together for Catalonia won 34 seats, the pro-independence Republican Left of Catalonia took 32 and the far-left Popular Unity Candidacy won four seats. The Catalan Socialist party won 17 seats, while Catalonia in Common, a left-wing coalition that rejected both unilateral independence and Spain’s measures to stop it, got eight seats. The Catalan branch of Spain’s ruling People’s party won four seats.
The three pro-independence parties have enough seats between them to form a majority that can put them back in office, if they agree on a coalition.
Puigdemont, who has been campaigning from Belgium after fleeing to Brussels following Spain’s dismissal of his government, said the results showed the strength of the Catalan people.
“As Catalan president, I wish to congratulate people for delivering an indisputable result,” Puigdemont said in Brussels. “We have won this election in exceptional circumstances, with candidates in prison, with the government in exile and without having the same resources as the state.”