December 21, 2017 / 5:07 PM / a year ago

Turnout in Catalonia regional election 70 pct at 1700 GMT

MADRID, Dec 21 (Reuters) - More than two-thirds of Catalans turned up at polling stations by late afternoon of Thursday’s high-stakes regional elections in a vote that will be key to deciding the future of the Spanish region’s independence movement.

The regional government said it registered turnout of 69.54 percent at 1700 GMT compared to an afternoon figure of 63.12 percent at the previous election in 2015.

Unlike in 2015, Thursday is a working day in Catalonia so many Catalans may vote in the final two hours before polling stations close at 1900 GMT.

Opinion polls before the vote showed separatists and unionists running neck-and-neck.

The final turnout is expected to be a record-high. (Reporting by Angus Berwick; Editing by Jesus Aguado)

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