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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 November 2006, 04:15 GMT
Catalonia set for power jostling
A polling station in Sant Just D'esvern, Catalonia
Catalonia is one of Spain's most affluent regions
Catalonia's conservative nationalist party has won elections in Spain's north-eastern region but failed to secure a majority to form a government.

The Convergence and Union party (CiU) won 48 seats in the 135-member regional parliament, according to the near completed count of the votes.

The Socialist Party (PSC), which led the outgoing coalition, won 37 seats.

The third party, the Republican Left (ERC) with 21 seats could play a key role in the formation of a government.

But the ERC is yet to announce which party they would prefer to form an alliance with.

Catalans now have to wait, possibly many days, while their politicians decide the composition of the new coalition government, the BBC's Danny Wood in Spain says.

Wednesday's elections were the first since the powers of the regional parliament were extended in June. The turnout was 56.7%.

Political splits

The fiercely independent Catalonia is one of Spain's most affluent regions.

map

The Socialist-led government teamed up with Convergence and Union earlier this year to usher in a new charter bringing more powers to the semi-autonomous region.

But the two sides have since fallen out.

The outgoing left-wing three-party coalition, led by Pasqual Maragall, has also broken apart over differences on the autonomy question.

The collapse of that alliance is what has caused early elections, and the left-wing parties have refused to say whether they will try to re-unite.

The CiU has been Catalonia's biggest party since democracy was restored in Spain following the death of General Franco in 1975.

The CiU also won the most seats in the 2003 poll, but went into opposition after the three left-wing parties formed a coalition.


SEE ALSO
Press cool on Catalan vote
19 Jun 06 |  Europe
A tale of two Spanish cities
11 Feb 06 |  From Our Own Correspondent

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