BARCELONA, Spain, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Pro-unity party Ciudadanos (Cs) won the most votes in the Catalan regional election on Thursday, according to an exit poll released by La Vanguardia newspaper as polling stations closed.
But the pro-independence bloc consisting of three major parties is expected to keep its absolute majority in the 135-seat regional parliament, the exit poll showed.
Around 84 percent of the 5.5 million eligible voters cast their ballots, hitting an all time high turnout, and well above the 74.9-percent turnout in the last election held in September 2015.
According to the exit poll, Ciudadanos is expected to claim between 34-37 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament, followed by left-wing pro-independence Catalan Republican Left (ERC), which is projected to claim between 34-36 seats.
Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont's Junts Per Catalunya party (JuntsxCat) is expected to win 28-29 seats, while the Socialist Party (PSC) will secure 18-20 seats.
The right-wing People's Party of Catalonia (PPC), under the leadership of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, is set to suffer a serious setback winning just 3-5 seats.
Left-wing Catalunya en Comu Podem (CCP) will garner 7-8 seats, and radical pro-independence party Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) is expected to win 5 or 6 seats.
If the poll, which is taken from a relatively small sample, is correct, then the pro-independence parties will probably retain their majority in the Parlament with between 71 to 64 seats.