Catalan election: Separatists boost majority in regional parliament

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The pro-union Socialist Party appeared set to claim a narrow win in regional elections in Catalonia, but the bloc of parties supporting secession by Spain’s north-eastern corner were widening their control of the regional parliament.

With 90% of the votes counted, the three main parties pledging to carve out an independent Catalan state were set to increase their number of seats in the regional parliament to 74.

In 2017, those same parties won 70 seats of the 135-seat chamber, just two above the majority.

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The Socialist party led by former health minister Salvador Illa was poised to take 33 seats with over 580,000 votes.

The pro-secession Republican Left of Catalonia was also set to claim 33 seats, but with 530,000 votes.

The parliament is also was poised to become more fragmented, and more radical.

The far-right Vox party entered the Catalan legislature for the first time with 11 seats, confirming its surge across Spain in recent years.

Its success came at the expense of the conservative Popular Party, which was left with three seats after a campaign in which it softened its formerly hardline stance against Catalan secessionists.

On the other side of the spectrum, the far-left, pro-secession CUP party improved to nine seats from the four it won in 2017.

The pro-secession forces will need the radically secessionist and unpredictable CUP to form a government with a majority.

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