Nov. 23 - Catalans gear up for the regional election with many hoping it will lead to independence from Spain. Lily Grimes reports.
This wealthy but financially troubled corner of Spain goes to the polls on Sunday to elect a regional government. If, as opinion polls predict, voters go for pro-independence parties the new leader will be able to hold a referendum on succession from Spain. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is fighting to keep Spain united in the face of a deep recession that threatens the country's euro zone membership. He says the breakaway plan is absurd, he wants Catalonia in Spain and Spain in Europe. But Catalan President Artur Mas is expected to be re-elected. And he told supporters at a rally that if the central government won't allow Catalonia to progress it must fulfil its potential by going it alone. The region has more people than Denmark and an economy that rivals Portugal's. And Spain's recession has sharpened the Catalan perception that they are unfairly taxed.