Catalonia digests election that saw separatists win majority

Catalan election latest: Carles Puigdemont says de facto independence vote is a chance for region to 'return to normality'

An arrest warrant against him remains in force, meaning he would probably be detained on arriving.

The other main victor was Ines Arrimadas, the leading unionist candidate.

But unless the three pro-independence lists fail to clinch a deal to work together in the coming months, they will rule Catalonia with 70 of the 135 seats in parliament - two less than their previous tally of 72.

As she put it: "I am so happy that we have shown to the rest of Europe and the rest of the world that not everyone in Catalonia is against Spain. there are a lot of people here who want to be part of Spain". Rajoy refused, saying he would negotiate with whoever became the new head of the Catalan government, but that they would have to take up their post in Catalonia. Spain's constitution bars secession.

The turnout for Thursday's elections was historically high, with more than 80 percent of voters casting their ballots. They and a third party secured a majority in the regional Parliament.

Madrid stepped in after Catalan lawmakers declared independence, dismissing Puigdemont's government and dissolving parliament using the contentious Article 155 of the country's constitution.

At the heart of the battle instead was the sensational recent independence push that led to Spain's worst political crisis in decades.

Rajoy deposed Catalonia s regional government after it made an illegal declaration of independence following the referendum in October.

According to reports from Catalan newspaper El Nacional, the former Barcelona boss was much more involved than first thought, as he was named in the Civil Guard's report depicting those that participated in the rebellion.

No incidents were reported during voting Thursday.

The result provoked an outpouring of joyous relief from supporters of parties who want independence from Spain. An economic slowdown has been the most immediate effect of the Catalan independence push. The executive arm of the European Union previously stated that events in Catalonia were an internal issue of Spain.

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