AFP said that Mas has turned the regional election as an indirect vote on independence after the central government blocked him from holding a straight referendum on secession.
Catalan secession remains highly hypothetical, but the strong pro-independence showing is a blow for Rajoy less than three months before a countrywide election.
They argued that the Spanish government has consistently refused to allow a legally recognised referendum, ignoring an unofficial vote backing independence in November 2014. Despite their success, the pro-independence parties received 47.9 percent of the total vote.
The spokesperson for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party Pablo Casado said that “this election should serve to end the independence debate once and for all”.
Turnout was high at more than 77 per cent after weeks of tense and emotional campaigning in which Spain’s leaders warned Catalonia’s place in the European Union was at stake.
The PP lost eight seats in the Catalan poll, leaving it wiith just eleven MPs in the regional parliament.
Instead, many analysts believe that the region would be placated with a new tax regime that allows more of its tax revenue to be used within the region, something the Spanish government will be forced to negotiate as the movement continues to grow.
“Junts pel Si” considered elections as a plebiscite, but did not manage to gain the absolute majority of votes needed to start the process of the region’s exit from Spain.
CUP won 10 of the 135 seats in Catalonia’s regional assembly, but may ally with Together For Yes, which won 62.
Catalonia voters boosted two separatist parties on Sunday, securing a parliamentary majority in the regional legislature and advancing their cause of breaking away from Spain.
“I’m sure many people in Scotland, given our recent experience of a referendum, will be looking with great interest at what is happening in Catalonia”.
Among parties opposed to independence, pro-market Ciudadanos, often cited as a national kingmaker, emerged as the only victor as it jumped to 18 percent of the vote.
To triumphant shouts of “Independence!”, Francesc Homs, a Catalan government minister, hailed the coalition’s apparent majority in front of supporters gathered in the Born neighbourhood of Barcelona.
Opinion polls suggest a majority of Catalans favour a referendum on independence but are evenly divided over whether they want to secede.