Key local elections in Spain's Catalonia

Nov. 25, 2012 at 1:34 PM

MADRID, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Voters in Spain's Catalonia were expected to elect a local government that favors independence despite warnings such a move would be illegal, analysts said.

Sunday's snap election was called amid a public dispute over finances between the Spanish government and Catalan president Artur Mas and was billed by some analysts as the most important vote in Spain's post-Franco history, Britain's Financial Times said.

The Times said Mas's CiU party has argued for greater control over tax revenues but has also staunchly opposed breaking Catalonia away from the rest of Spain. Polls, however, indicated the CiU was highly unlikely to gain an absolute majority of 68 seats in the Catalan parliament.

Opposition parties that favor independence gained support in the pre-election polls and could be strong enough after Sunday to form a coalition that would open the door to a vote on independence within three years, the Financial Times said.

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