Spanish stocks, financials tumble on Catalan separatist gains

European shares find fuel ahead of Catalan election outcome, holiday

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He said he will talk with the region's new leaders so long as they do not violate Spain's constitution.

However, he did not clarify whether he would be willing to meet deposed Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, who is in self-imposed exile in Brussels and whose party retained its position as the largest separatist force. The 54-year-old historian wanted Spanish authorities to "sit down to negotiate on a realistic basis". Turnout was more than 80 percent, a record for a Catalan regional election.

But again they won a fraction less than half of the total votes cast (nearly 48%), slightly less than they did in 2015.

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"The person I should be meeting with is with the one who won the elections, and that is Mrs Arrimadas", Rajoy said, referring to centrist, anti-independence candidate Ines Arrimadas, whose Ciudadanos party got the best individual result, with 37 seats and 25 percent of the vote. Then Prime Minister David Cameron and then First Minister Alex Salmond signed the now famous Edinburgh agreement, which allowed the Scottish government to hold a fair referendum.

Despite being well-versed in the politics of El Clasico, he does not expect additional tensions to come to the fore due to the Santiago Bernabeu clash taking place in such close proximity to the Catalan elections.

Two other pro-independence parties made up the dominant bloc: the left-wing republican ERC party, which collected 32 seats, and the radical, anti-capitalist CUP, which has four seats.

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Weeks of campaigning involved little debate about regional policy on issues such as public education, widening inequality and unemployment.

"Although political uncertainty in Spain has the ability to punish the Euro short-term, losses are likely to be limited by the growing optimism over Europe's economic recovery", says Lukman Otunuga, an analyst at FXTM.

Catalonia is one of Spain's wealthiest and most productive regions and has a distinct history dating back nearly 1,000 years.

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The Catalan parliament was dissolved, leading to this week's fresh elections, and prominent pro-independence politicians Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart were placed in preventive custody. Talks have yet to begin on forming a new Catalan government from its splintered parties. Senior EU officials have backed Rajoy, and no EU country has offered support for the separatists. The executive arm of the European Union previously stated that events in Catalonia were an internal issue for Spain. Spain's central bank last week cut its national growth forecasts for next year and 2019 to 2.4 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, cutting a percentage point off its previous predictions and citing the conflict in Catalonia as the cause.

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