BARCELONA Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy faces Spains biggest constitutional crisis in decades after Sundays violence-marred independence referendum in Catalonia opened the door for its wealthiest region to move for secession as early as this week.
The streets of Barcelona, the Catalan capital, were quiet on Monday, but newspaper editorials said the banned referendum, in which Catalan officials said 90 percent of voters had chosen to leave Spain, had set the stage for a decisive clash between Madrid and the region.
It could all get worse, the moderate Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia said in an editorial after Spanish police used batons and rubber bullets to disrupt the vote, sparking violence that Catalan officials say injured around 840 people.
Were entering a phase of strikes and street protests and with more movement, more repression.
Catalonia is a center of industry and tourism accounting for a fifth of Spains economy, a production base for major multi-nationals from Volkswagen to Nestle, and home to Europes fastest-growing shipping port.
Catalonias regional leader declared late on Sunday that voters had earned the right to independence and said he would present the results to the regions parliament, which then had the power to move a motion of independence.