Spain's Catalonian crux urgently needs dialogue
There is a strong imperative among the 7.5 million Catalans in Spain that they take control of their own destiny. But that view causes widespread distress elsewhere in the country which has a total of 17 autonomous regions.
The highly contentious referendum had been denounced by Madrid as illegal amid central government's strong insistence that Spain is indivisible. The federal Spanish authorities tried hard to frustrate the holding of the plebiscite organised by the regional government in Barcelona.
There was the spectre of violent clashes and widespread pacifist opposition by the Catalans. What happens next remained unclear last night as polls closed.