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Catalonia's Snap Elections Campaign Almost Over

  • VOA News

Ines Arrimadas, center, leader of the Citizens Party and candidate for the upcoming Catalan regional election, speaks with journalists during a campaigning event in Barcelona, Dec. 19, 2017.

Catalonia will hold regional elections Thursday, two months after separatist campaigners tried to declare independence from Madrid following a disputed referendum.

The central government seized control of the wealthy autonomous northern region after its parliament in Barcelona voted for independence on October 27, more than three weeks after 90 percent of Catalan residents voted in favor of secession in a referendum.

However, less than half the electorate took part in the vote.

Dozens of secessionist politicians were arrested in the aftermath, and the head of the regional government, Carles Puigdemont, fled to Belgium to escape arrest on charges of rebellion and sedition. Puigdemont is leading his party's campaign in Thursday's voting.

FILE - Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont addresses Catalan mayors who traveled to Brussels in support of the ousted Catalan government in Brussels, Belgium, Nov. 7, 2017.
FILE - Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont addresses Catalan mayors who traveled to Brussels in support of the ousted Catalan government in Brussels, Belgium, Nov. 7, 2017.

Eight members of the dissolved regional government and two prominent activists remain in jail.

Thursday’s election is unlikely to offer a definitive answer, with polls indicating votes will likely be divided across several different parties, each with differing positions on independence.

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