Spain's central government has said it will move to suspend Catalonia's autonomy after the regional leader failed to drop a bid for independence.
In a statement on Spain's government website Thursday morning, Madrid said that the Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont had refused to comply with a request to confirm whether the region had declared independence. Consequently, it said it would "continue with the procedures provided for in Article 155 of the constitution to restore legality in the self-government of Catalonia." Meaning, the government is set to meet Saturday to propose measures to strip Catalonia of some powers and officially trigger Article 155 of the Constitution.
A passage at the end of the statement spelled out Madrid's intention:
"No-one should doubt that the government will use all the tools available to restore as soon as possible the legality and the constitutional order, restore the peaceful coexistence between citizens and slow the political and judicial deterioration of which the only responsible people are leaders of the (Catalonia) Generalitat."
Catalan leader Puigdemont was given until 10 a.m. local time Thursday (4 a.m. ET) to withdraw the declaration of independence he made — albeit ambiguously — last week.
Before the deadline passed Puigdemont said the regional parliament could vote on a formal declaration of independence from Spain if no talks were held between Catalonia and Madrid. He again failed to clarify whether the region had declared independence.