Catalonia holds informal vote on secession

More than a million voters participated yesterday in an informal vote on whether Catalonia should secede from the rest of Spain, officials said.

The regional Catalan government pushed forward with the vote despite Spain’s Constitutional Court ordering its suspension on Tuesday after it agreed to hear the Spanish government’s challenge that the poll is unconstitutional.

The Catalan government said that more than 1.1m of the 5.4m eligible voters had voted by 1pm local time at polling stations manned with more than 40,000 volunteers. Results are expected this morning.

“Despite the enormous impediments, we have been able to get out the ballot boxes and vote,” regional president Artur Mas said.

The ballot asks voters two questions: should Catalonia be a state, and if so, should it be independent.

Polls show that the majority of Catalonia’s 7.5m inhabitants want an official vote on independence while around half support breaking centuries-old ties with Spain.

Mr Mas has said the vote, which lacks guarantees such as an electoral roll, is only symbolic and will likely lead to anticipated regional elections that will stand-in for a referendum on independence.

Spanish state prosecutors announced late yesterday that they were opening an investigation to determine if by holding the informal vote in defiance of the court’s suspension the Catalan government has broken the law.


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