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Catalans Vote as Rajoy Seeks Majority to Block Secession

  • Polls show separatist groups with less than 50% of vote
  • World leaders from Merkel to Obama oppose independence
A voter casts her vote at a polling station during the Catalonian parliamentary election in Barcelona, on Sept. 27.

A voter casts her vote at a polling station during the Catalonian parliamentary election in Barcelona, on Sept. 27.

Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg
Updated on

Catalans were voting on Sunday in an election that may determine whether the region pushes ahead with its campaign to break away from Spain and create a new European state.

While the 5.5 million eligible voters are officially choosing lawmakers for the 135-seat regional assembly, their president, Artur Mas, has formed a pro-independence alliance with his traditional rivals within the separatist camp in a bid to win a clear mandate for secession. Polling stations opened at 9 a.m. and voting will continue will until 8 p.m. Exit polls are due to be released shortly after the polls close.