Tensions high for crucial election as Catalans vote

CATALANS go to the polls today following a bitter regional election campaign.

Though a hung parliament is widely expected, the election will trigger the next phase of a long-running independence campaign.

The ousted president, Carles Puigdemont, remains in Belgium, with members of his cabinet still under investigation. Oriol Junqueras, the former vice-president, was denied bail and remains in custody.

If Puigdemont returns, he is expected to be arrested.

No party is expected to win outright, meaning intense negotiations are expected following the result.

Polls suggest a pro-independence coalition is a possible outcome.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy used emergency powers to call the election, following the region’s illegal referendum and declaration of independence.

Extra police are on duty amid fears that tensions could overflow. 

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