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Poll shows Catalan separatist will lose majority in elections

A new poll conducted just ahead of regional elections in Spain’s Catalonia suggests that separatist parties would lose their majority in the parliament.

The poll published in Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia on Sunday said the three separatist parties which dominated Catalonia’s parliament before the recent political crisis will narrowly fail to secure a majority in the elections slated for December 21.

The three parties, namely Ciudadanos, ERC and Junts per Catalunya, would gain 66 or 67 seats in the election, just shy of the 68 seats they would need to control the regional parliament, the poll found.

Lack of absolute majority would also be the case for unionist parties combined, the poll said. That would lead to a hung parliament where CatComu-Podem, a branch of Spain’s anti-austerity Podemos party in Catalonia, would become a kingmaker.

The poll, which has been based on interviews between December 4 and December 7, predicted a record turnout of 82 percent in the elections, which will come nearly two months after Spain launched a massive crackdown to nullify an independence declaration for the region.

Senior leaders of separatist parties, including former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and members of his former cabinet, are either jailed or face prosecution. The push for secession gained a huge momentum when Puigdemont’s government held a controversial referendum on October 1. Less than half of eligible voters turned out in the vote which Puigdemont used an authorization to declare independence on October 27.

Puigdemont, who is now in Belgium along four former ministers, and allies in the northeastern Spanish region have said they would do their best to secure a majority in Catalan parliament in the upcoming votes to keep the momentum for independence alive.

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