Five-and-a-half million Catalans are set to vote in the Spanish region’s parliamentary elections.
Sunday’s ballot has been framed by separatist parties as a proxy referendum on independence which will show whether a majority of Catalans want to split from Spain or stay part of the country.
Expectations are high because right and left-wing nationalists are running on a joint ticket for secession.
Opinions on the issue in downtown Barcelona were diverse.
“I think this is a necessary process after what has been happening in the last years,” said Ot Guillen. “I think it can lead us to change, and a change for the better. I feel things are going in the right direction, but let’s see what happens.”
“I am not in favour of secession,” said Emilio Sánchez. “I don’t want to split from Spain. I’m a Catalan as I married a Catalan woman and my children and grandchildren are all Catalan. And I want us to stay united. I don’t want secession. I want this thing to be solved in the best possible way.”
If the pro-independence bloc wins, they have said they will start a process that will lead to a unilateral declaration of separation from Spain in 2017.
Madrid has repeatedly said it would use the country’s constitutional court to block any attempt to create a Catalan state.