Catalonia independence Victory for Puigdemont. He is delighted with the outcome of PM Rajoy’s election, and has declared victory in the region’s elections

The result will put Catalonia on a collision course with Madrid, which stripped the region of its autonomy in October.

Addressing voters from Belgium, Mr Puigdemont declared that the election meant that the “Catalan republic” had won.

An aide to Mr Puigdemont sent a Whatsapp message to journalists as news of the results broke saying: “As you see, we are the comeback kids.”

The former Catalan leader had vowed to return to his home country if the separatist parties won a majority.

The pro-unity Citizens party is the largest party with 36 seats, however, they have conceded defeat.

The result means the future of Spain and Catalonia is once again uncertain after the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, said prior to the ballot that he would consider re-imposing direct rule it if a new government again pursues independence “illegally”.

Mr. Rajoy called the Parliamentary election after Mr. Puigdemont’s Government won a referendum on Catalan independence in October.

The result prompted a unilateral declaration of independence from the northern region of Spain.

However, the Madrid Government said the poll was unconstitutional, called the declaration null and void and arrested Catalan politicians who supported independence.

In his address Mr Puigdemont said: “Rajoy’s method has failed to stop the independence movement”.”Despite the difficulties we have faced, the absolute majority of independence continues.”He added: “The Catalan people have won the right to be listened to.”

Many Catalans now believe the attitude in Madrid must change, the central government must start a dialogue with Catalonia