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Huge turnout in Catalonia set to mark election

Catalans have voted in their masses in the Spanish general election, after a campaign that has revolved around the independence bid and the rise of the far-right.

The last provisional figures for the day showed a turnout in Catalonia of 64.2%, some 18% higher than in the last elections in 2016 (which in turn had seen a number of voters at 46.3%). In the whole of Spain the 6pm figures showed a participation of 60.7% (numbers which three years ago were at 51.2%).

Earlier provisional figures from midday, released after 2pm, showed a 43.5% turnout in Catalonia, an 11% increase compared with the previous general election in 2016.

The main Catalan candidates in general election, from left to right: Cayetana Alvarez de Toledo (PP), Laura Borras (JxCat), Jaume Asens (ECP), Gabriel Rufian (ERC), Meritxell Batet (PSC) and Ines Arrimadas (Cs) (Bernat Vilaro / via ACN)

In one of Spain’s most crucial elections in decades, Catalonia has taken centre stage following a campaign with most parties having an eye on the 2017 independence bid, when a referendum and a declaration of independence provoked an unprecedented political crisis.

Now, the leaders of the main pro-independence parties are running as candidates from prison, and unionist right-wing parties repeatedly attacked the Spanish president Pedro Sánchez for coming to power thanks to the votes from Catalan parties.

While the turnout rose in Spain as a whole (41.4%, a 4.5% increase), it could partly be due to the skyrocketing numbers in Catalonia.

The actual number of people in Catalonia with the right to vote in the election comes to 5,558,095, some 68,319 more than in the last general election in 2016.

Polling places opened for voting at 9am, and closed at 8pm.

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