MADRID – The president of Catalonia is riding a wave of enthusiasm among independence seekers in his wealthy region a day after a non-binding vote on secession from Spain showed strong support for breaking away.
Artur Mas was given an ovation by jubilant government workers as he returned Monday to the wealthy region's headquarters to analyze the results of the unofficial referendum.
Sunday's poll sends a message that "Catalonia wants to decide its own future," said Francesc Homs, the regional government's spokesman.
With 97 percent of votes counted, the regional government said more than 2.2 million people had voted and of those, over 80 percent opted to break away.
Elsewhere, there was skepticism over the vote. "It is totally undemocratic," said church cleaner Carmen Santos in Madrid. "They haven't asked all Spaniards."