Polls Close in Catalonia After Informal Independence Referendum

© Sputnik / Vladimir Astapkovich / Go to the mediabankBarcelona citizens are taking part in an informal referendum on Catalonia's status.
Barcelona citizens are taking part in an informal referendum on Catalonia's status. - Sputnik International
According to the Catalan government, almost 2 out of 5.4 million people in the wealthy breakaway region of Catalonia in northeastern Spain voted Sunday in the unofficial independence polls with the results to come on Monday morning.

BARCELONA, November 9 (RIA Novosti) — Almost 2 million people in the wealthy breakaway region of Catalonia in northeastern Spain voted Sunday in the unofficial independence polls before voting stations closed at 8 p.m. local time (19:00 GMT), the Catalan government said.

The region has a total of 5.4 million eligible voters who were urged to take part in the independence "consultation". In the run-up to the polls, people in Catalonia were asked to rally their friends and relatives to come and cast their votes.

Results of the vote are expected to come on Monday morning, though the central government in Spain earlier dismissed the vote as "useless" and unconstitutional.

Catalan President Artur Mas said at the polling station in Barcelona, where he came Sunday to cast his ballot, he was ready to take "full responsibility" for the vote after the ruling UPyD party urged to send in police to close the polling stations, seize all ballot papers and arrest volunteers, who helped organize the controversial referendum, if they put up resistance.

According to the Spanish government, the behavior of Catalonia's regional president "makes the future very complicated", while the polls do not bear any political advantages for the head of the Catalan government, the EFE news agency said.

As many as 1.1 million voted in the first two hours after the polls opened at 9 a.m. (8:00 GMT). Catalans aged 16 and over were to answer two questions: "Do you want Catalonia to become a state?" and "If so, do you want Catalonia to be an independent state?"

The Spanish government tried to block the vote by filing complaints to the Constitutional Court. However Catalan President Artur Mas said Catalonia would carry on with the polls, despite the central government's protests.

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