Spain watches as divided Catalans vote in polarised election

Polls have opened across Catalonia in a hotly contested election aimed at breaking a bitter deadlock over the region's independence drive.

Voting began at 9am local time and nearly 2,700 polling stations will remain open until 8pm.

The vote was called by Spain's central authorities after they seized control of the north-eastern region in late October. It will also be closely watched beyond the country's borders.

Opinion polls have shown fugitive and jailed separatist candidates neck-and-neck in opinion polls with unionists, who claim to be in the best position to return Catalonia to stability and growth.

With a record turnout expected, more than a fifth of the 5.5 million eligible voters were thought to be undecided.


KEYWORDS: Catalonia


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