- CUP will not support Mas
- Snap election likely to be in March
- Echoes the scene playing out in Madrid
Recently-elected politicians in Catalonia have six days to save their coalition.
The Catalan far-left party CUP has said it will not support acting regional head Artur Mas for another term as leader.
The announcement triggers a fresh round of local elections and will weaken the independence movement seeking a split from Spain.
CUP is a fringe, anti-capitalist party which rejects Catalan membership of NATO and the EU.
It has held the balance of power in talks to form a regional government since elections last September awarded a majority to pro-independence parties.
However, CUP has repeatedly rejected the candidature of Mas, who heads the centre-right, business-friendly party Junts pel Sí.
Mas heads the separatist “Together for Yes” alliance that won 62 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament last September. It needed a further ten to secure a workable majority.
After three months of debates, CUP members finally decided on Sunday afternoon not to support Mas as coalition leader.
CUP Sant Martí (@CUPSantMarti) January 3, 2016
Speaking after the meeting, a party spokesman said CUP might reconsider its position if another candidate were to be nominated.
However, the Together for Yes alliance says Mas is a non-negotiable figure.
Local mirrors national
The drawn-out process of forming a government in Catalonia echoes the political stalemate gripping Spain at national level.
No party in Madrid was handed a clear mandate to lead at general elections two weeks ago.
The prospect of another poll in March plunges Spain into more uncertainty.
The make-up of both the regional and national governments set to negotiate the future of the wealthy northeastern region remain unclear.
At the national level, parties are in talks to form a coalition government in Madrid.
Spanish voters, disillusioned by recession and high-level corruption cases, turned away from establishment political parties and voted for newcomers.
Spain PM Mariano Rajoy pushing to form coalition government after divided vote –
AP</a> <a href="https://t.co/fUW3vbgSsY">https://t.co/fUW3vbgSsY</a></p>— Breaking Politics (breakingpol) December 29, 2015
The future of Catalonia is at the centre of these talks.
Disagreement over whether to allow the region a referendum on independence is a major sticking point.
Newcomer Podemos supports a vote while the Socialists do not.