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Catalan separatist party approves talks with Socialists on PM vote

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By Reuters
Catalan separatist party approves talks with Socialists on PM vote
FILE PHOTO: Spain's acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and European Counsel president-elect Charles Michel (not pictured) hold a joint news conference at the Moncloa Palace, in Madrid, Spain, November 14, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera   -   Copyright  SUSANA VERA(Reuters)

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Members of Catalan separatist party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) overwhelmingly voted on Monday to support a Socialist-led coalition government in Spain on the condition of dialogue over the issue of Catalan independence.

Around 95% of members voted yes, Marta Vilalta, a top ERC official told reporters. The turnout was around 70%.

The non-binding consultation could ease the way for left-leaning ERC to act as a potential kingmaker as Spain’s Socialists, led by acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez, scramble to drum up support after winning a Nov. 10 election but falling short of a majority.

In a convoluted question, ERC asked its members whether they “agree to reject Pedro Sanchez’s investiture unless there is previously an agreement to tackle the political conflict with the (Spanish) state through a negotiation table.”

(Reporting by Joan Faus, editing by James Mackenzie, Ashifa Kassam)