In a day marked by calm, long lines outside polling stations, and a record high voter turnout of over 80%, the big winner was the constitutionalist party Ciudadanos.
Led by Inés Arrimadas, the party which has campaigned strongly against independence had, with 99% of the vote counted, won 37 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament – more than any other party – and picked up more than one million votes, making it the most-voted party in the region by a long margin. The result also gives the party a clear leadership position among the anti-independence forces in the region.
However, the success of Ciudadanos was not enough to put the brakes on the three pro-independence parties that governed from 2015 until October 27 of this year, when Madrid ousted them from power using emergency measures to stop the secessionist bid. The Catalan Republican Left (ERC), Junts per Catalunya and the radical left-wing party CUP won a combined 70 seats in the Catalan regional parliament – enough to form a majority government.
The ERC picked up 32 seats while Junts per Catalunya – the party of former premier Carles Puigdemont, who watched the results come in from Belgium where has been since the regional parliament passed a unilateral declaration of independence in late October – won 34 seats. The CUP won four seats.
The Catalan Socialists, led by Miguel Iceta won 17 seats, or one more than in the regional election of 2015.