SECESSION SHOWDOWN

Spain: Catalan Separatists Win Election

Separatists in Spain's Catalonia region won a clear majority in Sunday's parliament election, in what many have considered a de facto referendum on independence. With more than 98 percent of the votes counted, the separatist alliance and a smaller party won 72 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament. The "Junts per Si," or "Together for Yes," secured 62 seats, while the far-left separatist CUP party is projected to win 10 mandates. The alliance had earlier said a majority would allow them to declare independence from Spain and create a Catalan state within 18 months. Madrid has pledged to block any effort in court. "We won," Catalan leader Artur Mas i Gavarró told supporters on Sunday. "Today was a double victory – the yes side won, as did democracy."