Counting is underneath manner after document numbers voted in Catalonia’s regional election, referred to as by Spain following a controversial independence referendum.
The snap election pits Catalan pro-independence events in opposition to those that need the area to stay a semi-autonomous a part of Spain.
One exit ballot instructed that separatist events would win a majority.
A BBC correspondent says there appears little prospect that the election will remedy Catalonia’s political disaster.
The exit ballot mentioned the separatist Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the unionist Residents (Cs) had been neck and neck within the race to turn into the largest occasion within the new parliament.
Spain dismissed the separatist Catalan authorities in October after declaring the referendum to be unlawful.
The Spanish every day El Pais mentioned on its entrance web page that a million undecided voters may have the final phrase on Thursday.
Polling stations opened at 09:00 native time (08:00 GMT) and closed at 20:00. Most outcomes are anticipated by 21:00 GMT.
Turnout was reportedly greater than 80%, a document for a Catalan regional election.
Lengthy queues of voters – however no pets
By Europe reporter Gavin Lee in Barcelona
No pets allowed – it is a pooches-at-the-door coverage right here within the central Barcelona polling station of Casinet d’Hostafrancs, and there should be one canine to each 10 voters.
Early voters queued of their dozens right here 20 minutes earlier than polls opened – one thing I did not see in Berlin, Paris or Amsterdam this yr for elections elsewhere in Europe. It might level to a document turnout throughout Catalonia.
Opinion polls predict as much as 85% of the 5.three million eligible voters will end up as we speak.
Within the queue Ana, a scholar, described as we speak as “crucial election within the historical past of Catalonia”. When polls shut tonight the folks, given the authorized proper to vote this time, can have proven the route by which they need the independence disaster to play out.
Who’s predicted to win?
An aggregate of polls published earlier this week by El Pais instructed ERC would come barely forward of Cs, with the pro-independence JxCat occasion of ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont predicted to come back third.
That will imply no parliamentary majority in favour of independence and presumably prolonged negotiations to kind a authorities.
“Right this moment we’ll reveal the power of an indomitable folks. Might the spirit of #1oct information us all the time”, Mr Puigdemont tweeted from self-imposed exile in Belgium. Spain declared the 1 October Catalan independence referendum unlawful.
However he mentioned “this isn’t a standard day” and “neither is it a day of regular democracy”. His workforce instructed the BBC that he was unable to vote as he was in Brussels.
The BBC’s Kevin Connolly in Barcelona says there may be each prospect that the 2 sides within the independence debate will as soon as once more find yourself with an identical share of the vote and the election will restate Catalonia’s drawback moderately than resolve it.
Why is that this election taking place?
Separatists who dominated the Catalan parliament declared independence on 27 October, after the referendum.
In an try and cease that referendum, Spanish police stormed some polling stations. Nevertheless voters defied the Spanish courts and riot police to solid their ballots.
The transfer led to violent clashes with lots of of individuals reported injured. Footage exhibiting police tackling folks at polling stations and pulling a lady by her hair precipitated outrage.
Based on the organisers, 90% of voters had been in favour of independence, however fewer than half the area’s voters took half.
Mr Puigdemont determined it was sufficient to declare independence from Spain.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy then sacked the Catalan authorities, imposed direct rule and referred to as the 21 December election.
What occurred to the Catalan authorities?
Prosecutors accused 13 Catalan separatist politicians of rise up and sedition, together with Mr Puigdemont and 4 others who fled to Belgium.
Among the many accused, two pro-independence politicians are in Spanish prisons, and 6 are being monitored whereas on bail.
In consequence, campaigning for Thursday’s snap election has led to some uncommon scenes, with Mr Puigdemont addressing rallies through a videolink from Brussels.
His former deputy, Oriol Junqueras, has despatched messages to supporters from jail.
Reviews say he despatched a postal vote from jail. He tweeted a fond greeting to his wife to mark their fourth marriage ceremony anniversary, saying: “Right this moment I want to be with you and the kids for extra causes than ever”.
Within the run-up to the referendum Mr Puigdemont’s JxCat occasion had been allied to the ERC, led by Mr Junqueras.
However the ERC has opted out of a brand new alliance, making Mr Junqueras the primary separatist rival to Mr Puigdemont.
Printed at Thu, 21 Dec 2017 20:45:58 +0000