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Spanish PM sets the date for Catalan parliament formation

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called for the formation of Catalonia's parliament on Jan. 17, 2018, after which Catalan lawmakers will nominate a candidate to lead the regional government, Reuters reported.

The nominee will then undergo a vote of confidence.

Separatist parties won a slim majority in the Dec. 21 regional elections, but could struggle to form a government as some of the separatist leaders are in self-imposed exile and some are facing litigation over their role in the independence movement.

Spain imposed direct rule on Catalonia after the region's former president defied an ultimatum to abandon plans for independence.

Spain's benchmark stock index IBEX 35 was down 0.28% to 10,064.40 as of 2:10 p.m. local time.