Elections in Catalonia this week returned a parliament where more than two thirds of MPs want independence from Spain.
The ruling right wing Catalan nationalist party CiU called the election after up to 2 million people marched for independence in September. Its leader Artur Mas had pledged a referendum on independence if re-elected.
The CiU lost 12 of its 62 seats, leaving it without an overall majority. But this has more to do with the deep cuts it has pushed through than a lack of support for independence.
Turnout was high and a spectrum of pro-independence left parties gained ground. The pro-independence centre left ERC gained 11 seats, while the Catalan wing of Spain’s labour-type PSOE lost eight.An alliance of Greens and the radical left jumped to 13 seats.
And the anti-capitalist left Popular Unity candidates entered parliament for the first time with three seats. Leading candidate David Fernandez had promised to be a “Trojan horse in parliament” for social movements.
Spain’s central government blocked an independence referendum in the Basque country four years ago and has pledged to do the same in Catalonia. But it may not be so easy this time.
Support for independence is snowballing at the same time as massive protests against austerity and demands for a political alternative to capitalism. All eyes will now be on the CiU to see if it keeps its promise of a referendum.