Catalonia will declare independence from Spain on Monday, according to government officials in the region.
Pro-independence parties which control the regional parliament have asked for a debate and vote on declaring independence.
A declaration should follow this vote, although it is unclear when.
The regional government staged last Sunday’s referendum in defiance of a Constitutional Court ruling that the vote violated Spain’s 1978 constitution, which states the country is indivisible.
What happened in the vote?
Participants – only about 43% of eligible voters – opted overwhelmingly for independence.
The result was expected as many of those who back remaining part of Spain boycotted the referendum.
Opinion polls conducted before the vote suggested a minority of 40% of residents in the region backed independence.
However, the majority wanted the referendum held. The violent police crackdown has angered Catalans across the divide.
What is the atmosphere like?
Spain has been rocked by the independence referendum in Catalonia and the police response to it.
Batons and rubber bullets were used to prevent people voting. The sight of hundreds of people being injured
prompted international condemnation.
Catalans came out onto the streets on Tuesday to condemn the police action.
There is concern the unrest will intensify in the region, that makes up one-fifth of the Spanish economy.
What has the Catalan president said?
That his government will ask the region’s parliament to declare independence after tallying votes from last weekend’s referendum, which Madrid maintains was illegal.
“This will probably finish once we get all the votes in from abroad at the end of the week and, therefore, we shall probably act over the weekend or early next week,” Carles Puigdemont said in remarks published on Wednesday.
He is due to make a statement at 9pm on Wednesday after an all-party committee of the region’s parliament meets to agree a date – likely to be Monday – for a plenary session on independence.
What has the King of Spain said?
He has accused secessionist leaders of shattering democratic principles and dividing Catalan society.
Felipe VI said the crown was strongly committed to the Spanish constitution and to democracy. He underlined his commitment to the unity and permanence of Spain.
“Today, Catalan society is fractured and in conflict,” the King said in a televised address. “They (the Catalan leaders) have infringed the system of legally-approved rules with their decisions, showing an unacceptable disloyalty toward the powers of the state.”
What has Brussels said?
European Council President Donald Tusk is backing the constitutional argument. However, some members of the EU have criticised his tactics.
Tusk has appealed to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to seek ways to avoid escalation in Catalonia and the use of force.
In the past, Brussels has given little or no encouragement to separatist movements inside the EU.
Spain is the eurozone’s fourth-biggest economy.
The constitutional crisis has shaken the common currency and hit Spanish stocks and bonds.
Bank stocks have tumbled. On Wednesday the Ibex stock index fell below 10,000 points for the first time since March 2015.
What they are saying
“Catalan banks are Spanish banks and European banks are solid and their clients have nothing to fear,” – Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos tries to reassure investors and customers.