Catalans go to polls in symbolic independence vote

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Several hundred towns in Catalonia went to the polls Sunday to vote in symbolic referendums on independence for the wealthy northeastern region of Spain, organisers said.

A total of 211 municipalities -- representing 1.3 million of Catalonia's seven million inhabitants -- were asked: "Are you in favour of Catalonia becoming a social, democratic and independent state, and member of the European Union?"

In December identical referendums were held in 166 other towns and villages and 94 percent of Catalans in those area answered "yes" to the same question, though the turnout was just 30 percent of the 700,000 inhabitants.

The referendums, organised by local associations and supported by some political parties and unions, are not legally binding.

Sunday's vote came some 10 days after another delay to the decision by Spain's Constitutional Court on the legality of the region's statute of autonomy, approved in 2006, which gave the regional parliament enhanced powers.

© 2010 AFP

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