Catalan leaders vowed in Nov 2015 to separate from Spain by 2017. The end of year date will arrive with Spain still intact, and the secession plan under heavy assault.
Several of Catalonia's lawmakers, including former regional president Artur Mas and the current speaker of the regional parliament, Carme Forcadell, are facing court cases instigated by Madrid for having staged a secession referendum in 2014 in disobedience of a court order.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy vows to use all legal means to stop Catalonia from breaking away, and is also vociferously opposed to Catalonia's plan to hold a binding referendum on establishing a new Mediterranean nation.
Catalonia is one of Spain's wealthiest and most industrialized regions. Despite the separatist victory, analysts believe the most likely outcome will be bargaining between Catalan and Spanish authorities for a better autonomy package. Opinion polls show a majority of Catalans would like to remain within Spain, according to Reuters, if the region were offered a more favourable tax regime and laws that better protect language and culture.
Date written/update: 2016-11-14