Pro-independence parties are on track to keep their absolute majority in Catalonia’s regional parliament, early results from elections on Thursday showed, potentially prolonging Spain’s worst political crisis in decades.

The preliminary results, based on around 40 percent of the vote counted, seemed to confirm an earlier exit poll. Final results are expected after midnight.

A new separatist absolute majority would open a new, uncertain chapter and cast doubts over Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s ability to draw a line under a crisis that has damaged Spain’s economy and prompted a business exodus away from Catalonia.

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