The leader of a Catalan secessionist alliance promising to break away from Spain by mid-2017 has failed again to get the backing of regional MPs for his re-election as president.

The vote presents a setback for the economically powerful region's independence drive.

Artur Mas' candidacy was rejected by 73 votes to 62 in the Catalan parliament, with only his Together For Yes alliance supporting him.

He lost a previous vote on Tuesday by a similar margin.

Lacking a majority in the 135-seat parliament, Mr Mas had been reliant on the support of the pro-secession, far-left CUP group, which has 10 seats. But the CUP has refused to back Mr Mas as regional president.

The parliament has until January 10 to elect a leader and form a government or it must call fresh elections.