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Almost 2 million Catalans had participated in non-binding vote before 6pm, 2 hours before closing time

At 6pm, 2 hours before polling stations closed their doors, 1,977,531 people had peacefully cast their vote in the non-binding participatory process on independence, which was carried out with no remarkable incidents. Therefore it is very likely that the vote will go beyond the barrier of 2 million participants, which had been informally considered a few days ago the target figure for considering the vote to be a success. The census of Catalans aged 16 or older represents around 5.4 million people, but this participatory process is not a regular election, it has no legal effects, it is being run by volunteers and the Spanish Government has put manifold obstacles in its path , including last-minute pressures and veiled threats. In addition, a figure exceeding 2 million people already represents more participants than the massive pro-independence demonstration of the last Catalan National Day, when 1.8 million people formed an 11-km-long mosaic.

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09 November 2014 09:45 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- At 6pm, 2 hours before polling stations closed their doors, 1,977,531 people had peacefully cast their vote in the non-binding participatory process on independence, which was carried out with no remarkable incidents. Therefore it is very likely that the vote will go beyond the barrier of 2 million participants, which had been informally considered a few days ago the target figure for considering the vote to be a success. The census of Catalans aged 16 or older represents around 5.4 million people, but this participatory process is not a regular election, it has no legal effects, it is being run by volunteers and the Spanish Government has put manifold obstacles in its path, including last-minute pressures and veiled threats. In addition,, a figure going beyond 2 million people already represents more participants than the massive pro-independence demonstration of the last Catalan National Day, when 1.8 million people formed an 11-km-long mosaic. On Sunday early morning, Catalans formed long queues in front of the voting centres, despite the forecast of rain and the possibility of police taking away ballot boxes, in order to be among the first ones to vote. Queues lasted until noon, when rain and lunch made the number of voters present at the polling stations decrease. However, in the middle of the afternoon, there were long queues of citizens ready to vote once again. Despite the vote had no pre-made census, an IT system was making sure that voters could not vote twice, since everybody had a single polling station where they were allowed to vote according to their home address and official ID number.


Independent sources checked the system to register voters

The good functioning of this system was recognised by Madrid-based newspaper 'El País', whose reporters tried to unsuccessfully fool it on several occasions during the day. In addition, a delegation of international observers has supervised the process during the whole day visiting some 30 voting centres throughout Catalonia and talking to voters and volunteers. Their early assessment was positive, but their definitive report will be issued later tonight.

Pro-independence civil society organisation talk about "extraordinary figures"

The civil society associations ANC and Òmnium Cultural, which intensively campaigned for this Sunday's vote and co-organised the massive pro-independence demonstrations of 2012, 2013 and 2014, considered the participatory process to post "extraordinary turnout figures". "Democracy has won over fear and prohibitions", they stated. In addition, they emphasised that "political reactions and consequences" will follow.

A civic-minded day

At 7.30pm, the Vice President of the Catalan Government, the Christian-Democrat Joana Ortega, announced the turnout figures for the first 9 hours of the voting day, which started at 9am and finished at 8pm. According to the figures released by the Catalan Government, before 6pm, 1,977,531 had cast their ballot in the non-binding participatory process, which was organised as a light alternative of the original consultation vote also scheduled on November 9 and banned by Spanish authorities.

In addition, Ortega stressed that the participatory had been carried out without remarkable incidents, in a peaceful and festive way. She also praised the more than 40,000 volunteers who have contributed to "making this day a day of model participation, a day of civic-minded attitudes and with a democratic quality for the entire world's eyes".

Polls close at regular time

Besides, at 8pm the 1,317 voting centres closed their doors. In those where voters were still queueing to cast their ballot, street doors closed but people already inside were allowed to vote. However, some people were not allowed to cast their vote because they had brought a wrong ID document or because the ID card was expired. People will still be able to participate for the next 15 days in one of 7 main offices of the Catalan Government spread through Catalonia.

Besides, the participation centres located in the Americas will still be opened for a few hours after 8pm CET. For this participatory process, there were 17 voting centres located abroad, in cities such as Sydney, Hong Kong, Paris, New York and Buenos Aires. All of them were supposed to close at 8pm local time.

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  • People voting in Valls, in southern Catalonia (by N. Torres)

  • People voting in Valls, in southern Catalonia (by N. Torres)