Massive turnout in Catalonia as Spain faces crucial election
Votes cast before 2 pm up by 11% from previous election
Catalans are heading to the polling stations in mass to cast their votes in the Spanish general election, after a campaign that has revolved around the independence bid and the rise of the far right.
Provisional figures show a 43.5% turnout in Catalonia by 2 pm, an 11-point increase compared with the previous general election in 2016.
In one of Spain’s most crucial elections in decades, Catalonia has taken center stage following a campaign with most parties having an eye on the 2017 independence bid, when a referendum and a declaration of independence provoked an unprecedented political crisis.
Now, the leaders of the main pro-independence parties are running from prison, and unionist right-wing parties repeatedly attacked the Spanish president Pedro Sánchez for coming to power thanks to the votes from Catalan parties.
While the turnout rose in Spain as a whole (41.4%, a 4.5-point increase), it could partly be due to the skyrocketing numbers in Catalonia.
5.5 million voters
The actual number of people in Catalonia with the right to vote in the election comes to 5,558,095, some 68,319 more than in the last general election in 2016.
Polling places open for voting at 9am, and are due to close at 8pm, although if people remain in the polling place at that time, it can stay open until their ballot has been cast.