He then called the vote in the hopes of returning Catalonia to "normality" under a unionist government, or failing that a separatist government acting within the Spanish and regional laws and not seeking a unilateral split. Scoring 25 per cent of the votes, her pro-business Ciutadans (Citizens) party won 37 seats, which will be the biggest single bloc in the 135-seat regional assembly.
Product manager Beatriz Versosa, 33, said "the rulers of Spain and Catalonia (must) put themselves in the place of citizens and understand that they must solve the issue and set aside the most extreme positions".
The parties that favour an independent Catalonia did better than polls had predicted.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has campaigned for his party ahead of a regional election in Catalonia by boasting about his government's crackdown on Catalan separatists.
Rajoy, speaking at a news conference, said he would make an effort to hold talks with the new Catalan government.
The European Commission said that its stance towards Catalonia remained the same despite the election result. Spain's constitution bars secession.
In a report, the prosecutor said there was no reason to change the Supreme Court's decision to keep Junqueras in jail on provisional charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement following the Catalan parliament's declaration of independence October 27.
The turnout was more than 80 per cent a record for a Catalan regional election.
Eight of the absent politicians were elected as lawmakers. At the heart of the battle instead was the recent independence push that led to Spain's worst political crisis in decades.
The elections were triggered by the Madrid government's decision to impose direct rule on Catalonia after its parliament declared independence on October 27.
According to reports from Catalan newspaper El Nacional, the former Barcelona boss was much more involved than first thought, as he was named in the Civil Guard's report depicting those that participated in the rebellion.
No incidents were reported during voting Thursday.
He said: "This time is not about who wins this election, it's about whether the country wins or Rajoy".
The result provoked an outpouring of joyous relief from supporters of parties who want independence from Spain.
The outcome of the political battle is crucial for the region, which accounts for 19 per cent of Spain's gross domestic product. Spain's central bank last week cut its national growth forecasts for next year and 2019 to 2.4 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively, cutting a percentage point off its previous predictions and citing the conflict in Catalonia as the cause.