Spanish financial markets welcome the result of a regional vote in Catalonia, where secessionists won a majority of seats in parliament. As Laura Frykberg reports they're not seen to have a clear mandate to push for independence.
Victory for Catalonian separatist parties in Spanish local elections. Securing 72 of the 135 seats in the country's richest region. But they received less than fifty percent of votes cast. And that, says analyst Miguel Murado, could be a problem. (SOUNDBITE) (English) POLITICAL ANALYST, MIGUEL MURADO, SAYING: "Had they done that, then they would have an extra legitimacy that could allow them even to declare independence unilaterally. Of course, that is not going to happen now." But national elections are just three months away AND Catalonia's independence will still be a big issue. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BARCELONA RESEARCHER, GERARD ROSIC, SAYING: "It's a negative solution to a problem that the Spanish state has not wanted to solve in the last three decades." (SOUNDBITE) (Catalan) BARCELONA RECEPTIONIST GLORIA CALVO, SAYING: "I hope it ends with an agreement and that Catalans get a better deal out of this." Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's is firmly against a referendum. So are financial markets - Spanish stocks were up almost half a percent even though the trend across Europe was down. IG's Chris Beauchamp says separation would make life very difficult for investors. (SOUNDBITE) (English) Market Analyst, IG, CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, SAYING: "Catalonia is one of the more successful areas of Spain - Barcelona obviously one of its major powerhouses, from an urban perspective. So we would see a weaker Spanish economy. The problem of separating the two nations would make life more difficult for investors trying to look at Spain from a dispassionate perspective." The separatists have another problem as well - independence isn't allowed under Spain's constitution.