World

Catalonia holds informal vote on secession from rest of Spain despite court suspension

  • Businessman Emilio Busquets walks past two police officers patrolling the street, as he holds a drawing of a ballot box to decorate his shop ahead of voting on an informal poll, scheduled for next Sunday, in Girona, Spain, on Saturday Nov. 8, 2014. The pro-independence regional government of Catalonia stages a symbolic poll on secession in a show of determination and defiance after the Constitutional Court suspended its plans to hold an official independence referendum following a legal challenge by the Spanish government. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

    Businessman Emilio Busquets walks past two police officers patrolling the street, as he holds a drawing of a ballot box to decorate his shop ahead of voting on an informal poll, scheduled for next Sunday, in Girona, Spain, on Saturday Nov. 8, 2014. The pro-independence regional government of Catalonia stages a symbolic poll on secession in a show of determination and defiance after the Constitutional Court suspended its plans to hold an official independence referendum following a legal challenge by the Spanish government. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)  (The Associated Press)

  • A woman casts her vote in a polling station for an informal poll  for the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014. The pro-independence regional government of Catalonia stages a symbolic poll on secession in a show of determination and defiance after the Constitutional Court suspended its plans to hold an official independence referendum following a legal challenge by the Spanish government. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    A woman casts her vote in a polling station for an informal poll for the independence of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014. The pro-independence regional government of Catalonia stages a symbolic poll on secession in a show of determination and defiance after the Constitutional Court suspended its plans to hold an official independence referendum following a legal challenge by the Spanish government. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)  (The Associated Press)

  • People line up before casting their vote for an informal independence poll in a polling station in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday Nov. 9, 2014. The pro-independence regional government of Catalonia stages a symbolic poll on secession in a show of determination and defiance after the Constitutional Court suspended its plans to hold an official independence referendum following a legal challenge by the Spanish government. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

    People line up before casting their vote for an informal independence poll in a polling station in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday Nov. 9, 2014. The pro-independence regional government of Catalonia stages a symbolic poll on secession in a show of determination and defiance after the Constitutional Court suspended its plans to hold an official independence referendum following a legal challenge by the Spanish government. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)  (The Associated Press)

Spain's northeastern region of Catalonia has opened polling stations to hold an informal vote on independence that the central government has called illegal.

The regional Catalan government has pushed forward with the vote despite Spain's Constitutional Court ordering its suspension on Tuesday after it agreed to hear the Spanish government's challenge that the poll is unconstitutional.

The Catalan government expects polling stations to be manned by more than 40,000 volunteers in defiance of the court's suspension. Results aren't expected until Monday morning.

The ballot asks voters two questions: should Catalonia be a state, and if so, should it be independent.

Catalonia, with around 7.5 million inhabitants and Barcelona as its capital, is one of Spain's wealthiest regions.