Who's who in the Catalan elections?

As Catalan voters head to the polls on Thursday, ITV News Correspondent in Barcelona Emma Murphy takes a look at who's in the race and their chances.

Political parties for and against Catalonia's independence from Spain are standing in a snap regional election.

Here is a summary of the main parties, their leaders and what they stand for.

A victory for Carles Puigdemont would be personal. Credit: AP
  • Name: Carles Puigdemont

  • Party: Junts Per Catalunya

  • Pro-independence

The former Catalan president and a politician determined to get his job back.

It would be a big win personally and professionally and with the protection of electoral success would likely mean he can return from exile in Brussels to the job from which he was ousted in October.

Having taken Madrid on head to head any victory would be personal - for him and for the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Oriol Junqueras is currently in prison in Madrid. Credit: AP
  • Name: Oriol Junqueras

  • Party: Catalan Republican Left/ERC

  • Pro-independence

The former vice president of the last coalition is fighting his electoral campaign from his prison cell in Estremera prison in Madrid.

Gone this time the coalition with Puidgemont, in its place a belief that ERC could become the leaders of Catalan independence.

Whilst in detention Junqueras has anointed Marta Rovira as his heir apparent.

Their central argument one of negotiation with Madrid and the EU over independence - not something that sits well with more radical separatists and not something that has borne much fruit so far.

Albert Rivera's Ciudadanos party supports unity with Spain. Credit: AP
  • Name: Albert Rivera

  • Party: Ciudadanos or "citizens" party

  • Pro-unity

Ciudadanos is strongly opposed to Catalan nationalism, and uses the phrase "Catalonia is my homeland, Spain is my country and Europe is our future" to outline the party's ideology.

The party views itself as centre-left.

As an originally Catalan party it specifically opposes Catalan nationalism as an outdated, authoritarian and socially divisive ideology which fuels hatred among both Catalans and Spaniards.

Ines Arrimadas is a threat to Spain's governing party. Credit: PA
  • Name: Ines Arrimadas

  • Party: Ciudadanos

  • Pro-unity

Arrimadas is the doyenne of the pro-unity campaign.

Fiercely pro-Spain, married to a determined separatist, she is making her mark in the polls.

A strong TV performer she is also a threat to Spain's governing party the People's Party (PP). Early indications suggest they could be losing valuable votes to Ciudadanos.

The biggest problem though is that they are unlikely to win outright and may struggle to form a coalition.

Miquel Iceta has his eye on the presidency. Credit: PA
  • Name: Miquel Iceta

  • Party: Socialists PSC

  • Pro-unity

The Catalan Socialists were the second largest player in Catalan politics since Spain's move to democracy in the 1970s.

Miquel Iceta has his eye on the presidency if the independentistas lose their ground.

Iceta believes with the help of smaller parties he could yet become Catalonia's leader.

Xavier Garcia Albiol has the least to gain in the elections. Credit: PA
  • Name: Xavier Garcia Albiol

  • Party:Popular Party of Catalonia

  • Pro-unity

Probably the person with the least to gain in the elections.

Representing the People's Party (PP) of Mariano Rajoy, they will probably lose some of their 11 seats which were themselves a disappointing haul in the 2015 regional elections.

The biggest threat comes from Ciudadanos.

Catalunya en Comu Podem could be the kingmakers in a coalition. Credit: PA
  • Name: Xavier Domenech

  • Party: Catalunya en Comu Podem

  • Middle ground

Catalunya en Comu Podem supported the right to the referendum but refused to support the unilateral Declaration of Independence.

They've held that position ever since and now hold the middle ground - but that may not be a vote winner.

However it may ultimately be a position of power - they could yet be the kingmakers in a coalition.