DHAKA: The Spanish region of Catalonia is preparing to hold important regional elections, after a campaign that has focused on the issue of independence.
Catalan nationalists want to hold a referendum on whether the region should break away from the rest of Spain.
Polls suggest Catalan nationalist parties are set to do well.
Catalan President Artur Mas called early elections amid a funding row with the central government; it says he is trying to exploit the economic crisis.
Madrid says Catalan nationalists are looking for excuses having nearly run out of money, and having run up a big debt.
Polls open at 08:00 (07:00 GMT) on Sunday.
BDST: 1135 HRS, NOV 25, 2012
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