On October 1st, 2017, the territorial unity of Spain faced a challenge as the Catalan regional government staged its promised and controversial independence referendum. Despite the referendum being “suspended” by Spain’s constitutional court and fiercely opposed by the central government. Out of a possible 5.3 million voters in the region, 2,262,424 people voted in the referendum for a turnout of 42%. An estimated 770,000 votes were lost due to disruption or seizure by the Spanish police, and 79 of the 2,315 polling stations were closed. With 2,020,144 “YES” votes, or 90% of the total, and 176,565 “NO” votes – the Catalan voters overwhelmingly supported independence.

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