Skip to main content

Socialists win biggest vote in Catalan election, exit poll says

1 min

Spain's Socialist Party was seen gaining the biggest vote in Sunday's election in the region of Catalonia over the separatist party Junts, according to an exit poll published by Catalan public television after polling stations closed.

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks during an event in support of Socialist candidate (PSC) for Catalan elections Salvador Illa, in Sant Boi de Llobregat, near Barcelona, May 2, 2024. Reuters/Albert Gea

Spain's Socialist Party was seen gaining the biggest vote in Sunday's election in the region of Catalonia over the separatist party Junts, according to an exit poll published by Catalan public television after polling stations closed.

The Socialists, led locally by Salvador Illa, were seen with between 37 and 40 seats in the 135-seat regional chamber, below the 68-seat threshold for a majority meaning they would need an alliance with one or more other parties to form a government.

Junts was seen winning between 33 and 36 seats and the incumbent ERC 24 to 27 seats.

The election in one of Spain's wealthiest regions offers the possibility of the return to power of a separatist politician who led a breakaway attempt in 2017, or an anti-independence government led by the Socialist Party.

A Catalan government led by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's Socialists would end a decade of separatist governments that have roiled Spanish politics, and would be a vindication of Sanchez's conciliatory approach with the region.

But whoever wins looks likely to have to govern with alliances since no party is seen as reaching a majority on its own, meaning Sunday's vote could herald the start of coalition talks lasting well beyond the election.

Junts' candidate is Carles Puigdemont, who was Catalonia's president during an ill-fated attempt to wrest the region from Spain in 2017 before he fled to self-imposed exile in Belgium.

Puigdemont has for years faced prosecution in Spain over the independence bid, and campaigned from southern France. But he is set to return home following an amnesty put forward by the government in Madrid that would annul his arrest warrant, and has vowed to resurrect an independence bid.

Polls closed at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) and results are expected at around 10 p.m. (2000 GMT).

Some surveys in the run-up to the vote showed that around 40% of voters were undecided, so any outcome was possible.

If the Socialists win they may seek an alliance with ERC or Junts, although both separatist parties have so far ruled that out. Failing that, they could attempt an even more unlikely partnership with the conservative PP, their main rivals at a national level.

If they take power, Junts and ERC would seek to lead a new pro-independence government.

According to the Catalan public TV poll, separatists would lose their parliamentary majority if they achieve a vote at the low end of the range of the poll's seat estimates, but they would be able to keep their majority if they gain a vote at the high end of the range.

If post-election negotiations fail to produce an agreement by August, a repeat election would take place in October.

By Joan Faus

Tags

Related

Politics

What happens in a UK national election?

Britain will hold a national election on July 4 which opinion polls indicate will end 14 years of Conservative Party-led government, spanning one of the most turbulent periods in the country's modern political history.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Mena banner 4

To make this website run properly and to improve your experience, we use cookies. For more detailed information, please check our Cookie Policy.

  • Necessary cookies enable core functionality. The website cannot function properly without these cookies, and can only be disabled by changing your browser preferences.