Symbolic Vote on Catalan Independence

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Spanish unionists protest in Madrid against the symbolic independence vote in Catalonia. (© REUTERS/ ANDREA COMAS)

On November 9, the autonomous province of Catalonia is holding a non-binding vote on whether it should remain a part of Spain or strive for independence. The voters are asked two questions: “Do you want Catalonia to become a state?” and “If so, do you want Catalonia to be an independent state?”

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6,430 ballot-boxes are installed in 1,255 schools and colleges. More than 40,000 volunteers are assisting the Catalans during the consultation. (© REUTERS/ GUSTAU NACARINO)

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A man with the estelada flag casts his ballot. (© AP PHOTO/ EMILIO MORENATTI)

There is no official list of “voters”; more than 5,4 million Catalans aged 16 and older are eligible, so are foreigners permanently residing in Catalonia. 18 ballot stations are open abroad.

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A Barcelona resident puts his voting paper in the ballot box. (© AP PHOTO/ EMILIO MORENATT)

Eight observers from Belgium, France, Germany, Slovenia, Sweden and Great Britain have arrived in Catalonia to inspect the vote. They plan to visit about 30 schools.

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A queue to a polling station in Catalonia. (© REUTERS/ ALBERT GEA)

After the announcement that the votes would be counted by the autonomy’s authorities, the Catalan government suffered a hacker attack.

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Catalan President Artur Mas and his wife Helena Rakosnik vote in Barcelona on November 9, 2014. (© REUTERS/ PAUL HANNA)

Catalan President Artur Mas signed a decree on September 27 to set the independence referendum on November 9.

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Independence supporters take part in a rally ahead of voting on an informal poll on November 7, 2014. (© AP PHOTO/ EMILIO MORENATTI)

The Spanish Constitutional Court declared the vote illegal and the Supreme Court declined Catalonia’s appeal to challenge the decision.

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Oriol Junqueras, head of the pro-independence Republican Left of Catalonia, center, holds a drawing of a ballot box during a rally ahead of voting on an informal poll on November 8. (© EAST NEWS/ AP/FOTOLINK)

Artur Mas decided the voting on November 9 would be carried out as an unofficial consultation despite the central government’s protests.

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A rally in support of Catalonia’s independence in Barcelona. (© REUTERS/ ANDREA COMAS)

Catalonia became an autonomous province of Spain in 1479. The region’s autonomy has fluctuated from Catalonia’s almost breaking away in 1871 to its suppression by Franco.

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Fireworks are displayed after a rally in support of the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona. (© SPUTNIK/VLADIMIR ASTAPKOVICH)

Independence supporters won an absolute majority in the Parliament of Catalonia and in January 2014 voted to hold a referendum on independence.

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