Catalonia elections close, counting underway

ANI | Updated: Dec 22, 2017 03:30 IST

Madrid [Spain], Dec 22 (ANI): Counting is underway for the Catalonia regional elections called by Madrid following the controversial independence referendum.

The snap vote has pitted pro-independence parties against those who want Catalonia to remain a semi-autonomous region of Spain, local media reported.

Long queues formed outside voting stations in the affluent region of northeastern Spain.

None of the six parties in the Catalan parliament reportedly would achieve the 68-seat majority, polls released ahead of the election stated.

In late October, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called for the polls when the country took control of Catalonia and sacked its government.

This came hours after the Catalonia parliament voted to declare independence from Spain and proclaimed to be a republic.

This major development came just weeks after the Catalan independence referendum of 2017, which was declared illegal, where, 92 percent of people voted backing independence.

The Catalan Government had said that it earned the right to split from Spain, claiming 90 percent of those who voted in referendum were in favour of independence.

Before Madrid's imposition of direct rule over it, Catalonia enjoyed wide autonomy, including control over its own policing, education and healthcare.

Catalan nationalists have always argued that the region is a separate nation with its own history, culture and language, and that it should have increased fiscal independence.(ANI)