Independence drive for Spain's Catalonia falters after voters punish pro-referendum candidate

The push for an independence referendum for Spain's Catalonia region has been thrown into doubt after the referendum's main supporter was punished at the polls and forced into the difficult position of having to seek alliances with other parties.

Arturo Mas of the center-right CIU party wanted an absolute majority to give him support for an independence referendum that the central government in Madrid says would be unconstitutional. But his party lost seats, while the pro-independence Republican Left made big gains.

It would be difficult for Mas to form an alliance with the Republican Left because it has been very critical of austerity cutbacks for Catalonia pushed through by Mas. Mas did not immediately outline his plans Monday on how he would try to form a majority.