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Catalonia's president has said he could resign if the pro-independence coalition of parties fails to secure a majority of the vote in the Spanish region's elections this weekend.
Spain's prosperous north-eastern region of Catalonia will be watched closely by the national government in Madrid on Sunday as the vote for pro-independence parties could pave the way towards a slow -- but sure -- move towards succession from Spain.
The main separatist parties – the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC) and Republican Left of Catalonia, and several smaller parties -- have united to give their voice more power.
They have said a win would pave the way for an official referendum on independence but the latest opinion polls show they are just shy of an absolute parliamentary majority of 68 seats, potentially scuppering the movement's hopes.
Speaking to CNBC ahead of the vote, Artus Mas, the figurehead of the region's independence movement and president of the CDC, said resignation was an option if the separatist alliance doesn't get a majority of the seats in the parliament.
"In my opinion if we don't get the majority (of seats) in the Catalan parliament then we will have failed and we will have to accept the democratic mandate of the Catalan people -- and then the Catalan people will have to come to terms with a new political situation," he said.
"Of course, I'm prepared to resign because when you have a very strong idea and you do your best in order to try to implement it and you don't achieve your goal, then you have to accept this new situation and one of the ways to accept this kind of situation in the political field is resign," he added.
Alluding to the possible reaction from Madrid if the coalition triumphs, he said "if we win, others in Madrid, for instance and other Catalan parties will have to accept that we've won."
He said a win would mean the "beginning of a process" of negotiation with the national government on creating an independent Catalan state.
There are several large obstacles to any dream of independence, however. Not only is there the belief that an independent Catalonia would have to issue its own currency take on a share of Spanish debt and potentially leave the European Union. in the region if is seceded from Spain.
Mas said it would be a "crazy scenario" to make Catalonia leave the euro zone and said the central bank governor was trying wrongfully to influence Sunday's vote and create panic in the markets, saying that "in a normal situation, he should resign" over the comments.
Economically, Catalonia is a large contributor to Spain's growth, accounting for 19 percent of Spain's GDP, making it a jewel in the crown that Spain is likely to fight hard to keep. Logistically too, a referendum on independence would need the approval of all Spanish regions before it could take place legally and that's hardly likely to happen.
Asked whether the region could consider other options, such as requesting greater powers from Spain's national government -- along the lines of Scotland's devolution model (itself a country where a referendum on independence failed last year) – Mas was not convinced the government would grant concessions to the region.
- By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter . Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCWorld