Spain's Catalonia starts voting for or against independence

BARCELONA, Sep. 27 (MNA) – Catalonians vote today at the crossroads of separating or keep being part of Spain, in regional polls of special connotation for the independentist sectors' intention of making them a referendum on separation.

A little over 5.5 million persons are called to vote for seven lists of candidates in order to select 135 parliament seats of that autonomous community of the coujntry's northeast.

The key number is 68, the number marking the absolute majority of parliament that will have an important influence in the future of Catalonia, although the Spanish government warned it will not accept a hypothetical unilateral declaration of independence.

Junts pel Si (united for Yes) coalition of the parties Convergencia Democratica and Esquerra Republicana de Cataluña (CDC-ERC) offers that if absolute majority is gained, that will proclaim the beginning of separation.

This will entail a new Constitution, a proclamation of independence, laws of judicial transition and constitutive process, marking the route of the main independence coalition.
With many points in favor of Candidatura de Unidad Popular also advocates for a unilateral declaration of independence, but conditions this to having an absolute majority of seats and also of votes.

At the center of the spectrum there is Catalunya Si que es Pot (Catalonia Yes it Can) leftist coalition and ecologists that defend the right to decide of Catalonians, but rejects the unilateral declaration of independence.

The Partido Socialista de Catalonia, referent to the Partido Socialista Obrero Español, also defends the referendum but among all Spaniards and not on separation, but on a remodeling of the Spanish State pact that tries to neutralize independentism.

The rightwing Partido Popular, meanwhile, is opposed to separatism, referendum or constitutional reform and its only concession to face the situation is to modify aspects of the financial regional system.

Also from the right, Ciudadanos (Citizens) rejects secession and the proposal of a referendum, although it suggests the reform of State and Constitution and a new financing model.
Unió, once an ally of the CDC of the Catalonian president, Artur Mas, is declared opposed to the status quo, but also to rupture, proposes the recognition of Catalonia as a nation and also favors changes in financing model.

Some 600 thousand undecided voters may turn the tide of an election that are considered in itself a referendum for separatist forces that, if victorious, promise to start a process to secession.

Although traditionally the greatest abstention comes from the non-independentists, the great polarization of the election campaign assures nobody that trend is maintained on this occasion. 

The undecided are attributed great importance when, according to surveys, the separatist forces could win a little over 68 deputies, absolute majority in a parliament of 135 seats, but without 50 percent of the votes.

The first signs point to a historical participation in these anticipated elections (14 months before the scheduled date), taking into account that the previous vote through the mail rose by 56 percent compared to the previous polls of 2012.

The two thousand 697 polling stations that opened at 09:00 hours (local time) with eight thousand 181 tables, they will close at 20:00 hours, giving way to counting at the 947 Catalonian municipalities.

Regional authorities advanced that at 10:30 local time tonight, the first results will be made known that will be followed with utmost interest in all of Spain, given the connotation they could have for the future of that autonomous community and the State.

 

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PL-8/MNA

News Code 110528

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