Catalan election to be held on February 14 after court annuls move to postpone it

January 29, 2021 8:23 AM EST

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BARCELONA (Reuters) - Catalonia will elect its parliament on Feb. 14, after a court on Friday annuled the regional government's plan to move the vote to May.

The election is considered a litmus test for the wealthy northeastern Spain region's separatist movement.

Two pro-independence parties currently govern the region, but opinion polls have been split on who could win this time.

The separatists aim to garner more than 50% of the vote for the first time, but former health minister Salvador Illa, a Socialist, this week resigned from the central government in Madrid to run in the election, and some polls have seen him winning.

The parliament is likely to be quite fragmented, and even if Illa won the election, it is unclear if he could garner enough support to form a regional government.

The Catalan government had sought to move the vote to May. 30 in what it called a health measure due to rising coronavirus infections. Critics argued the date change violated the rule of law and said it was politically motivated.

(Reporting by Joan Faus; Editing by Ingrid Melander)

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