The separatist parties that have governed Catalonia for a decade lost their majority in Sunday’s regional vote with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists taking a clear lead, partial results showed.

With 90 percent of the votes counted, Carles Puigdemont’s hardline JxCat, the moderate ERC of outgoing regional leader Pere Aragones and the smaller hard-left CUP had managed to secure just 60 of the regional parliament’s 135 seats, well short of the 68 needed for a governing majority.

The Catalan Socialists, led by Salvador Illa, secured 41, which was slightly higher than predicted in a poll released after voting closed, meaning they will also need to make alliances to secure a ruling majority.

Although the Socialists won most votes in the previous 2021 regional ballot, they were unable to cobble together a majority, with the separatists taking power with a 74-seat coalition.

With nearly all of Sunday’s votes counted, JxCat won 36 seats, slightly higher than last time, while ERC fell sharply to 20, down 13 from 2021, and CUP also shed votes to take just four seats.

With AFP