Voting in regional snap elections begin to solve political crisis
The people of Catalonia have started going to the polls from this morning in a closely-watched regional election called by Spain.
However, all poll indications suggest that the result will be very close. According to a BBC correspondent, there seems little prospect that the election will solve the region’s political crisis.
Today’s snap election is being held after it was ordered by the Spanish government following a controversial independence referendum in October. The Spanish government seized control of the region, sacked its leader and cabinet, and dissolved the regional parliament following a declaration of independence by lawmakers.
To minimise the backlash, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had immediately called a new election.
An alliance between ousted leader Carles Puigdemont’s party and Esquerra Republicana broke down last month. Oriol Junqueras, Esquerra’s leader and Catalonia’s former vice president, remains in jail in Madrid along with three other leading separatists.
Junqueras mailed his ballot from a jail near Madrid, his left-republican ERC party said earlier this week
The polling stations opened at 09:00 local time and will close at 20:00, with the first official results expected shortly.