May 17th, 2024

Catalan separatists set to lose majority as Spain’s pro-union Socialists win regional elections

By Joseph Wilson, The Associated Press on May 12, 2024.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and socialist candidate, Salvador Illa, left, wave to the crowd during a campaign rally in Villanova i la Gertru, near Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, May 9, 2024. About 6 million Catalans are casting ballots in a regional election that will test if Catalonia wants pro-independence leader Carles Puigdemont back or if the wealthy region has moved on to more pressing worries. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Separatist parties appear to be in danger of losing their decade-long hold of power in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region as the pro-union Socialist Party is poised to win the most votes in Sunday’s regional election with 85% of ballots counted.

The four pro-independence parties, led by the Together party of former regional president Carles Puigdemont, are set to total 62 seats, short of the key figure of 68 seats needed for a majority in the chamber.

The Socialists led by former health minister Salvador Illa are on course to win 42 seats, up from their 33 seats in 2021 when they also barely won they most votes but were unable to form a government.

The Socialists will still need to earn the backing of other parties to put Illa in charge. Dealmaking in the coming days, maybe weeks, will be key to forming a government. Neither a hung parliament nor a new election is out of the question.

But Illa’s surge should bode well for Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and the Socialists before a European Parliament election next month.

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