Vote counting underway for Catalan elections - live updates
Pro-independence parties to lead in seats according to exit polls
Counting is underway in the 2021 Catalan election after polls closed at 8 pm following a day of voting under tight safety measures due to Covid-19.
With over 80% of the ballots already counted, provisional results put pro-independence parties on course to retaining their parliamentary majority, with ERC and JxCat in a neck and neck race for second place with 33 and 32 seats respectively. The Socialists are tied at the top with ERC, with 33 MPs, but clearly prevail in terms of vote share (24% vs 21%). They are experiencing a stunning rise in votes, but it’s unclear whether their victory will allow them to form a government since parties in favor of a split with Spain would get 74 seats, also counting far-left CUP's 9.
The race for the top spot could still change, but what it seems clear is that the far-right will enter the Catalan parliament for the first time – Vox is on course to obtaining 11 MPs, securing the fourth place if the counting does not change their final result.
Historic low turnout
The elections were held despite worries about the Covid-19 pandemic, after the Catalan government decision to postpone the election beyond February 14 was overturned in court. A significant drop in voter turnout occurred with only 45.6% of voters casting their ballots by 6pm. With 62% of the counting, the turnout is 52%, the all-time low since the reestablishment of democracy in 1980.
When to expect final results
On a usual election, votes would be counted by 10pm, however due to the health situation it is expected counting will be more lengthy than normal. Once votes are counted, this will likely only fire the starting pistol on the talks to form the next government, with up to 9 parties expected to enter parliament. Learn here how the election system works.
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