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Spain parliament to keep same number of seats despite suspended Catalans

Spain parliament to keep same number of seats despite suspended Catalans
FILE PHOTO: Spain's acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrives to attend the first session of parliament following a general election in Madrid, Spain, May 21, 2019. Bernat Armangue/Pool via REUTERS -
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MADRID (Reuters) – The Spanish parliament’s speaker said on Wednesday the suspension of four Catalan lawmakers currently facing trial over their involvement in a 2017 regional independence bid would not affect the total number of seats in the house.

A parliamentary majority in the 350-seat house would continue to be 176 seats, Meritxell Batet said.

Spain’s acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez won a national election on April 28 but his Socialist party did not take enough seats to rule on its own, forcing him to rely on other parties to stay in power. Parliament is expected to hold a first vote on his nomination in July.

The removal of the four seats would have allowed Sanchez to broker a majority position in parliament without relying on the Catalan separatists’ votes or abstention, which he is now likely to require.

(Reporting by Paul Day, editing by Andrei Khalip)

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