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Spanish government aims for January regional elections in Catalonia - PSOE

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By Euronews
Spanish government aims for January regional elections in Catalonia - PSOE

<p>The Spanish government has agreed with the country’s opposition Socialists (<span class="caps">PSOE</span>) to hold regional elections in Catalonia in January. </p> <p>Socialist politician Carmen Calvo said the move was part of a package of extraordinary measures to temporarily impose direct rule on the region. </p> <p>Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will hold a special cabinet meeting on Saturday to put in motion the process of suspending Catalonia’s autonomy. </p> <p>On Thursday, Madrid announced it would suspend Catalonia’s self rule and impose direct rule after the region’s leader threatened to go ahead with a formal declaration of independence if Madrid refused to hold talks. </p> <p>In an act unprecedented since Spain returned to democracy in the late 1970s, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he would hold a special cabinet meeting on Saturday that could trigger the move. The Socialist opposition said it backed the government but suggested the measures should be limited in scope and time.</p> <p>Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, ignoring a 10 a.m. deadline to drop his secession campaign, wrote a letter to Rajoy threatening a formal declaration of independence.</p> <p>The war of words increased uncertainty over a standoff that has raised fears of social unrest, cut growth prospects for the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy and rattled the euro.</p>