The Catalan parliament voted yesterday on whether to seek the right to hold a referendum on independence. Although the supporters of the move just failed to get the necessary two thirds majority they still made the point very clear.
Of course, Madrid has the last say on these matters and both Mariano Rajoy’s ruling party and the socialists have said that they will not allow the referendum vote to go ahead.
If the Catalan politicians try to go ahead and force a vote, they could find themselves in a perilous legal position. Their only alternative is to use the regional elections as an unofficial referendum with parties declaring on which side they stand. If the pro independence groups gather enough support at the election, that might encourage them to push for a referendum without the approval of parliament.