World Bulletin / News Desk
Despite taking fire for losing a snap election in Catalonia, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy faces the new year better equipped to block a separatist drive in the wealthy region, analysts said.
Pro-independence parties failed to win a majority of ballots cast but neither did parties in favour of Spanish unity do as well as was hoped for by the majority of Spain's political class.
Rajoy's conservative Popular Party (PP) saw its marginal representation in the 135-seat Catalan parliament reduced even further, to just four seats, from 11 previously.
Its main rival, the relative newcomer Ciudadanos, won the most seats with 36, mainly by luring away traditional PP supporters.
At first glance Rajoy appeared to have lost his bet by calling the snap polls after he invoked constitution article 155, allowing him to suspend Catalonia's autonomy and impose direct rule in response to the separatists' independence drive.
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Obama, who met with Mandela in 2005 and who made an emotional address at his funeral, will speak at the lecture marking 100 years since the anti-apartheid icon was born.
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On Thursday, Iraqi F-16 fighter jets struck ISIL positions in Syria
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He acted quickly -- just a day after decades of Castro rule ended and long time party loyalist Miguel Diaz-Canel assumed power as president.
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