Salvador Illa’s PSC party won Sunday's Catalonia elections with 23.4 per cent of the votes and tied 33 seats with the Esquerra Republicana (ERC).
But it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for Spain’s former Minister of Health to govern, because the pro-independence forces together have reinforced their absolute majority in the Parliament of Catalonia.
JxCat took 32 seats while Vox went from almost nothing, four years ago, to taking eleven seats in the 135-strong assembly. Meanwhile big losses were suffered by Ciudadanos (six seats) and the PP - who are left with just three.
The autonomous elections in Catalonia registered the lowest turnout in history, with only a little more than 52 per cent of people eligible to vote making their mark.
Even though he lacks the support to govern Illa hasn’t given up, and on Sunday night (14 February) he confirmed that he will still stand for the presidency as the winner of the elections, but it is likely to be an ‘independentista’ that is selected with the ERC’s Pere Aragones being tipped to be the region’s next leader.
Whether he succeeds or not, Illa and the Socialists had reason to be more than satisfied - the PSC party almost doubled the 17 seats it obtained in December 2017.