Separatist parties that took part in the independence vote on Friday in the Catalan parliament and celebrated the new Catalan Republic now mostly appear ready to accept the normal regional elections called by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy under Article 155 powers to suspend home rule in the region.

Republican Catalan Left (Esquerra, ERC) spokesman Sergi Sabrià labelled the December 21 vote "illegitimate" and "a trap" but added that "nevertheless, we are not afraid of the ballot box".

During a TV interview on Monday evening, Esquerra leader Oriol Junqueras said "the big question...