Catalonia election amid independence campaign

There has been a big turnout at the Catalonia snap election so far, as polls will be open until 8pm tonight. The first official results are expected shortly afterwards

The people of Catalonia are today voting in a closely watched regional election after its government was dissolved by Madrid.

Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy called the election back in October when the central government took control of Catalonia and dissolved the regional government after it staged an illegal independence referendum and made a declaration of independence.

The snap election pits Catalan pro-independence parties against those who want the region to remain part of Spain.

Polling stations opened this morning at 9.00 local time, and will close at 8pm. The first official results are expected shortly afterwards, as all indications show that the result will be very close.

The result is likely to lead to coalition negotiations to form a government that will either maintain the drive for independence in some form or defend the constitutional status quo.

One million undecided voters could have the last word on the issue, the Spanish daily El Pais said.

Although the Spanish government hopes the election will restore a sense of normality, many see it as a second chance for an independence bid.

Ex-Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont is campaigning for re-election from self-imposed exile in Belgium.

Puigdemont’s former second hand, Oriol Junqueras, has been fighting the election from prison, where he and two other independence leaders are being held as part of a judicial investigation into October’s events.

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