MADRID (Reuters) – Catalan separatist party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) reaffirmed on Saturday it would abstain during the Spanish parliament’s vote to confirm Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez as prime minister, a senior official said, a move that would help to end a prolonged political deadlock.

The party’s national executive met on Saturday morning following a last-minute decision by Spain’s electoral board to block ERC’s jailed leader Oriol Junqueras from becoming a member of the European Parliament, calling the party’s support into question.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting ERC top official Pere Aragones said the party would continue working with the Socialists to try to solve the Catalan conflict through negotiations, confirming an earlier report by Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Reporting by Jessica Jones; editing by Jesús Aguado