That concludes our live blog for today. Thank you for reading. Check back with us tomorrow, Friday, as we continue to provide coverage of all the reactions and developments in Catalonia and the rest of Spain.
With 99.1% of the vote now counted, Ciudandos have claimed one more seat, bringing their total to 37.
The figures for the three pro-independence parties remain the same: Junts per Catalunya has 34, while the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) is still on 32 and the radical left-wing CUP have four seats. This is enought for the three parties to form a majority in the 135-seat regional parliament.
93,95% of the vote is counted and here is what the parliament looks like.
A Ciudadanos voter holds up a Spanish flag. The unionist party secured over a million votes at the Catalan election, outperforming all other parties.
The vote count is 89.91% and there is no change to the seat distribution. In terms of votes, however, the unionist Ciudadanos is close to securing a million votes.
Secessionist parties seem set to secure a collective 70 seats, two more than the required number for a majority, even though non-secessionist parties have a lead of nearly 5 percentage points in terms of votes. Reporting by Claudi Pérez.
This is how things stand with over 84% of votes counted.
On Friday, December 29, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will provide his traditional economic and political overview of the year and outline his expectations for 2018.
The Spanish Cabinet will sit down on Friday at its second-to-last meeting of the year to analyze the results of today’s election in Catalonia, as well as the outlook for the new Catalan parliament. Ministers will also discuss the subsequent negotiations that should lead to the naming of a new regional premier.
Ousted Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont, whose Junts per Catalunya is close on the heels of the unionist Ciudadanos, follows the results of the Catalan election from the Convention Center in Brussels. Photo credit: Stephanie Lecocq (EFE).
Record voter turnout: Participation in today’s Catalan election has reached a historic high of 81% with 52.3% of votes counted in a ballot marked by polarization. This is six percentage points more than in the Catalan election of 2015 and it is also a record for Spain, topping the 79.9% turnout at the Spanish general elections of 1982 won by the Socialists of Felipe González, EFE reports.
Serious faces among supporters of the far-left, pro-independence CUP party in Barcelona’s La Sagrera neighbourhood. They could lose 60% of their vote.
The count is up to 52.3%. Ciudadanos is winning with 35 seats, one more than JuntsxCat and three more than ERC. The far-left CUP and the conservative PP are in freefall, losing six and seven seats respectively. Ciudadanos is already 71,000 votes ahead of its nearest rival.
With 41.71% of votes counted, Ciudadanos and Junts per Catalunya are tied at 34 seats although Ciudadanos has 50,000 more votes than Puigdemont’s party. The Catalan Republican Left (ERC) gets 32. A coalition of all three separatist parties (ERC, JuntsxCat and CUP) would have 71 seats, three more than the 68 required for an absolute majority.
In the city of Barcelona, with 11.7% of votes counted, the unionist Ciudadanos is winning with 25.4% of the vote. The pro-independence Catalan Republican Left (ERC) is second with 20,2% and Junts per Catalunya with 17.2%. The Catalan Socialists are fourth with 15.4% and Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau’s Catalunya en Comú is in fifth position with 9.2%. The Popular Party (PP) gets 5.44%. Reporting by Clara Blanchar.
With 34% of votes counted, Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya gets the most seats in parliament even though it has 36,000 fewer votes than the unionist Ciudadanos. These are official figures at 21.53pm
With 15.52% of votes counted, the most voted party is the unionist Ciudadanos with 165,289 votes, around 9,000 more than JuntsxCat and nearly 20,000 more than the Catalan Republican Left (ERC). This does not necessarily translate into more seats in parliament, as more votes are required for seats representing Barcelona (where Ciudadanos is stronger) than for those representing other provinces, where support for pro-independence parties is higher.
With 7.77% of votes counted, the anti-independence Ciudadanos and the secessionist JuntsxCat both get 35 seats, two more than the Catalan Republican Left (ERC). These are official figures at 9.22pm.
The vote count is going very slow. In 2015 at this same time, twice as many ballots had been counted already – another sign that this is an atypical election.
With 3.48% of the votes counted, Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya drops to 40 seats, followed by ERC with 32 and Ciudadanos going up to 29.
Right now the unionist party Ciudadanos is winning in Barcelona province, but only 0.85% of votes have been counted there.
With only 0.71% of votes counted, Carles Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya gets 49 seats, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) gets 33 and Ciudadanos obtains 24. The Catalan Socialists (PSC) are in fourth position. These figures could fluctuate significantly as the count progresses.
Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy has arrived at the Popular Party’s Madrid headquarters to follow the results of the Catalan election. Most of the party’s leaders are there as well. The PP is bracing for a very poor result. (EFE)
Counting the votes in Barcelona. Photo credit: AFP
Sant Jaume de Frontanyà, the smallest municipality in Catalonia, has completed the vote count: The winner is the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) with 10 votes out of 23, representing 43.48% of the total. Junts per Catalunya comes in second place with eight votes (34.78%), followed by the Catalan Socialists (PSC) with three votes (13.04%), the far-left CUP with one (4.35%) and Ciudadanos with one more (4.35%). Three residents stayed home.
Eduard Pujol of JuntsxCat, whose top candidate is ousted premier Carles Puigdemont: "We have demonstrated a very significant ability to adapt, but these elections will always be remembered as the elections of prison and exile."
José Manuel Villegas, of Ciudadanos: "It is complicated to compare turnout figures, but we think it was high today and that was one of the goals of Ciudadanos: to get people who stayed home in 2015 to come out and vote."
Just a reminder: any party or bloc of parties must win 68 seats to have a majority in the 135-seat Catalan parliament.
Vote counting is now underway in Catalonia: but only 46 ballot papers have been counted to date.
The Popular Party candidate in the Catalan election, Xavier García Albiol, says turnout will top 80% and the recount will be "very lengthy."
"Anything could happen," said the PP candidate of a day he described as "exceptional and unusual," Spanish news agency EFE reports. (Photo credit: ANDREU DALMAU / EFE)
Miquel Iceta, the Catalan Socialists (PSC) candidate in the regional election has celebrated the high turnout today saying “the greater the participation, the more the joy for all democrats.” He also said a “change of direction” which would let him become regional premier was possible, Spanish news agency EFE reports.
There are still long lines to vote at this polling station in the Barcelona neighborhood of Sant Andreu. At 6pm, 70% of people of people on the census had voted, says Luis Martínez of the Popular Party who has traveled up from Madrid to Catalonia. The polls here are set to close at 8.20pm, he notes.
Ousted Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont will make a public appearance in Belgium at 9pm GMT time – two hours after polling stations are set to close. The candidate for the pro-independence party Junts per Catalunya will appear with four ministers who also fled to Belgium following the unilateral declaration of independence.
Share prices of CaixaBank and Sabadell bank, which both moved their corporate headquarters from Catalonia to region of Valencia as a response to the political crisis, have risen 2.15.% and 1.67% respectively at the close of trading.
Stocks in CaixaBank, which is headed by Jordi Gual, rose to €4.09 per share, while the share price of Sabadell jumped to €1.75.
EL PAÍS interviewed Catalan Socialist party Miquel Iceta recently. He said he was convinced that he can govern in Catalonia without a coalition.
The full interview is here: http://cort.as/-0Ooj
Here is some more information on the turnout today: In pro-independence bastions like Berga and Vic, where voter participation was down at midday, we are now seeing turnout rates slightly higher than 2015 levels. In Berga, turnout at 6.15pm was 70.5% against 68.1% in 2015 and in Vic it was 70.4% – up from 67.1% in 2015.
The leader of the pro-independence civic organization ANC, Jordi Sànchez, currently in pre-trial custody in the region of Madrid and facing charges of sedition and rebellion, has sent the following message on Twitter: “How I would to be in Catalonia and live this day intensely, to have been able to vote with son Oriol…those of you that can, vote or help someone to go and vote.”
High turnout: At 6pm, turnout in the Catalan election was at 68.01% with data from 35.18% of polling booths analyzed. This is a record level and continuing to rise. In the 2015 regional election in Catalonia, the turnout was 63.12% at the same stage.
As a bit of background, the final date for voting in a new Catalan premier is April 7. After a constituent session of the regional parliament, which will see the election of the speaker of the chamber and the members of the speaker’s committee, there will be a period of 10 working days for the speaker to propose the investiture of a candidate to the premiership. The final date for this will March 6. There will then be a first round of voting and if no absolute majority is reached there will be a second vote two days later in which the candidate will only have to win a simple majority. If there is still no decision, there will be a two-month period to find a premier: or by Saturday April 7. In the event that the premiership remains unfilled at that time, new elections will be called automatically.
At the beginning of the last legislature, the timeframes for constituting the parliament and the investing the premier all ran out as the pro-independence parties Junts pel Sí (Together for Yes) and the far-let CUP sought a compromise candidate. Puigdemont was finally sworn in.
One in every four people eligible to vote in the Catalan regional elections are born outside of Catalonia. Federico Cañizares is one of them.
The Murcia-born physicist believes “exercising the right to vote is a responsibility” and has chosen to cast his vote for the constitutionalist Socialist party, arguing the independence movement has become to radicalized.
Data from the Center of Sociology Studies (CIS) shows that voters born in Catalonia have a clear preference for pro-independence parties. In the 2015 regional election, 92.1% of voters of pro-independence Junts pel Sí came were born in Catalonia. This number dropped by 20 percentage points for constitutional parties, reports José María Jiménez Gálvez.
Fake news concerning candidates in the Catalan regional election has been circulated on social media and the web.
One article published on Ara.cat, claims Oriol Junqueras, the candidate for the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) who is currently in pre-trial detention for his involvement in the unilateral declaration of independence, will be confined to his cell for five days as a punishment for his activities in the Estremera prison.
While Junqueras will be investigated for doing a phone interview on December 16 and making an audio recording that was later played at a party rally, the Interior Ministry has said “no punishment has been given yet,” undermining the claims of the article.
Meanwhile, Spanish activist Lagarader Danciu has shared with her more than 24,000 Twitter followers a photo supposedly of Ciudadanos candidate Inés Arrimadas standing with a Franco Spanish flag. The photo however is of Carmen Melissa Ferrer and went viral in 2013 when she was a councillor for the Popular Party.
The former deputy premier of Catalonia, Oriol Junqueras, currently in pre-trial custody over his role in the independence push in the region has tweeted the following: “Dear friends! Prison doesn’t make us weaker. On the contrary. It makes us stronger.”
Former Catalan foreign affairs minister Raül Romeva, one of the members of the Catalan government sacked by Madrid using emergency constitutional powers, tweeted the following after voting today: “We will always be at the ballet boxes defending democracy and dignity. Oriol, Quim, Jordis, we are voting for you today as well.”
In his message, Romeva was referring to the former deputy premier of Catalonia Oriol Junqueras and to former interior minister Joaquim Forn as well as to Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, the leaders of National Catalan Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium, the main civic groups behind Catalonia’s pro-independence street mobilizations. All four are currently in pre-trial detention facing charges of rebellion and sedition.
Family members of the victims of the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambril are outraged that no politician campaigning for the Catalan regional election has paid homage to the 16 people left dead in the attacks on August 17 and 18.
“I am afraid. We feel and continue feeling abandoned. Not even in the early days did they bother with us,” says Adriana Martín, the daughter and sister of two of the 137 people who were injured in the attacks.
While the former president of France, Manuel Valls, made mention to the victims when he was in Barcelona a few days ago, no Catalan politician has made any reference to the deceased or injured.
The Victims of Terrorism Association (AVT) says it is continuing to treat 23 victims, five who were physically injured in the attacks. The rest are family members or people who were La Rambla the day Younes Abouyaaqoub drove a van at full speed into passing pedestrians, Pablo Ordaz and Alfonso L .Congostrina report.
Spain has asked Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to ensure that the EU’s anti-Russian propaganda team known as the East StratCom Task Force be on alert over possible meddling in today’s election in Catalonia, as was the case during the October 1 independence referendum in the region.
Spain has also managed to win assurances from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange that he will not publicly state his opinion on the election. Assange, who was granted asylum by the South American country and who has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, promised the government of Ecuador in writing that he would not do so. (Photo AP)
Spain’s Civil Guard estimates just over half a million euros was spent on publicity for the illegal independence referendum held in Catalonia on October 1. The Civil Guard arrived at the figure of €502,639 after analyzing bills and hearing testimony from high-ranking officials and businesspeople.
The final figure includes the money spent on an ad which ran on Catalan public broadcaster TV3 and on the campaign designed to get Catalans living overseas to register to vote, Jesus García reports.
Long lines, dogs...and nuns: some of the best photos (so far) from today's election in Catalonia:
This is how Carles Riera, candidate for the far-left, pro-independence CUP, voted in the Poblenou neighborhood in Barcelona this morning – with his fist raised and with a yellow ribbon pinned to his jacket. The ribbon marks his support for the “political prisoners” currently in pre-trial custody in the region of Madrid and facing charges including rebellion and sedition for their role in the recent Catalan independence push.
Here are a few key numbers from today’s election in Catalonia:
- 5,554,394 Catalans eligible to vote
- 2,680 polling stations in 947 municipalities
- 8,247 polling booths
- Some 65,000 people overseeing operations at the polling stations
- 135 seats are up for grabs in the regional parliament
- 68 seats is the magic number for a parliamentary majority
Strange as it may sound, the issue of undecided voters in Catalonia may not actually be all that decisive. Kiko Llaneras explains why:
With turnout data from nearly 100% of polling booths in Catalonia now in, the 1pm participation figure is now up to 34.69%. This is still just below 2015 figures. But it is worth keeping in mind that the last regional election was held on a Sunday.
First turnout figures: Using data from 26.59% of polling places, turnout at 1pm was 34.51%. At the last regional election of 2015, turnout at this time was 35.1% (with data from 100% of polling places). But these figures are difficult to compare because the last election was held on a Sunday. Many citizens are expected to go vote in the evening after work.
Voting on a regular workday is not so easy for the self-employed, for shopkeepers and for parents.
Speaking from Brussels, ousted Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont thanked a young woman who offered to cede her vote to him: “Today is a very important day, not for the Catalonia of today but for the Catalonia of the future. And you, Laura, represent the dawn of this hope. The time has come for the Republic of the citizens to retire the monarchy of [Article] 155.”
“Today, citizens hold the key,” said Xavier Domènech, the candidate for Catalunya en Comú-Podem, after voting. “This country is going to overcome the current situation.” His leftist group, which includes the Catalan branch of Podemos, is not openly siding with either the secessionists or the “constitutionalists.” In the likely event of a tie between both camps, Domènech’s party would hold the key to any future government.
Miquel Iceta, the candidate for the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), has voted. "I am convinced that between all of us we will turn into reality our dream of a Catalonia that is financially prosperous and socially fair," he tweeted.
Barcelona city is plastered with these stickers saying "Don't vote for repression!" The Tweety face is a reference to the Looney Tunes ferry where special units of the National Police and Civil Guard slept while stationed in Catalonia during the October 1 referendum. Reporting by Alfonso Congostrina.
The leader the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), Oriol Junqueras, who remains in pre-trial custody in Madrid on rebellion charges over the illegal independence push, has sent a tweet to his wife Neus on their fourth wedding anniversary. In the message, Junqueras says he hopes to be reunited with her and their children soon, Europa Press reports.
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau: “Today is a historic election day and we hope this will be reflected at the polls...It is important to vote to restore Catalonia’s self-government, which was intervened by the State. Tonight we must make an effort to begin a new period underscoring all the things that unite us.” Reporting by Alfonso Congostrina.
Election day is already registering long lines of voters outside polling stations. Turnout in 2015 was 77%, and surveys suggest that a new record of around 84% could be set today.
Voter opinions: “Nothing is going to change. Everything will stay the same and we’ll have to go vote again. Separatists have sunk Catalonia,” says Eugenia, a native of Seville who has been living in Catalonia for 52 years, as she stands in line outside a Barcelona voting station. Reporting by Jessica Mouzo.
Secessionist group CDR says it will "audit" this "illegitimate election"
Unprecedented measures have been adopted to ensure that the election goes smoothly. Over 65,000 people are involved in the organization of a vote that will cost €25 million.
Voting stations will remain open until 8pm. They are located in 947 municipalities across Catalonia.
Our photography desk is putting together a selection of images from the Catalan election here: http://cort.as/-0O04
The election is being held on a working day rather than a Sunday. But children are staying home from school and workers have been given time off to go vote.
Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the Catalan elections.