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Puigdemont celebrates as Catalan separatists win election

Deposed Catalonian president Carles Puigdemont and the rest of the government in exile give a press conference in Brussels. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team Catalonia, Spain Dec 22, 2017, 01.50 AM (IST)

Catalan separatists have won a landmark election with nearly all votes counted, separatist parties have won a slim majority in the Catalan parliament.

As soon as the results began pouring in pro-independence supporters came out on the streets in Barcelona chanting "President Puigdemont".

"Either Rajoy changes his recipe or we change the country," Puigdemont said in a televised speech. 

EU countries Germany and France, have backed prime minister Rajoy's stance despite criticism.

The elections which had seen a record 99.6 per cent turnout was being seen as a virtual referendum on Catalonia's future within Spain. 

Puigdemont's spokesman told Reuters in a text message: "We are the comeback kids."

However, unless three pro-independence lists fail to clinch a deal to work together in the coming months, they will rule Catalonia with 70 of the 135 seats in parliament -- two less than their previous tally of 72.

"This is a result which no one can dispute," Carles Puigdemont said from self-imposed exile in Belgium.