Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has threatened to suspend Catalonia’s regional autonomy after the region said it had a mandate to split from the country.
In a televised address, Rajoy said he had asked Catalan leaders to confirm if they had declared independence, “which is a requirement for any measure the government can adopt under Article 155 of the constitution”.
Article 155 allows Spain to impose central authority over its semi-autonomous regions.
Catalan leaders had signed a declaration of independence from Spain on Tuesday but immediately put it on hold and called for talks with Madrid on the country’s worst political crisis in decades.
As Spain headed into the unknown, Prime Minister Rajoy was to chair an emergency cabinet meeting early Wednesday to discuss the central government’s response.
In a speech to regional lawmakers in Barcelona that drew both praise and criticism from separatists, Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said he had accepted “the mandate of the people for Catalonia to become an independent republic” following a banned referendum on October 1.