Madrid's eight-day deadline for Catalonia to drop its independence bid could prove to be fruitless, according to political analysts, who believe that pro-separatist Catalan President Carles Puigdemont will not back down.
Speaking in the Spanish capital on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned that if the Catalan government refused, he would suspend the region's autonomy and rule it directly.
Antonio Barroso, deputy director of research at risk consultancy Teneo Intelligence, said that "it is unlikely that Puigdemont will alter his position."
"(Puigdemont's) first reaction has been to insist on establishing a 'bilateral dialogue' with Spain with 'no prior conditions'; backpedalling on independence would only lead to an even bigger disappointment within the secessionist camp," he said in a note Wednesday.
"Given that Rajoy cannot accept a bilateral discussion without Puigdemont backtracking first on independence, the most likely scenario is that the prime minister activates the next steps of Article 155 (the so-called 'nuclear option'), which will probably happen within the next 48 hours.