Barring any last-minute surprises Catalunya appears to be heading for new elections in March.
The current president of the region and leader of the CDC centrist independence party Artur Mas has failed for a third time to be renominated, and as parliament is unable to name a successor, a new vote is inevitable.
Mas and members of his family are implicated in a blizzard of legal affairs and scandal that has tarnished the CDC’s hard-working, serious reputation.
“I am very calm and keen to keep fighting, to move forward and to stand up to Madrid which always has tried to stop this country from moving ahead. I am also keen to stand up to some of those here who have made things excessively difficult,” he said after parliament rejected him for the third time.
Many scenarios are now possible, including the possibility that in the March vote left-wing Podemos’s Catalunyan branch may do better. A stronger Podemos would cause problems for Madrid, as its leader supports a referendum and is less resistant to the idea of independence.