Spains Deputy Prime Minister has pleaded with Catalonia to “open a new stage where the law is respected”,
It came as Catalonia’s leader Carles Puigdemont said he would not hold a new regional election to break the deadlock between Madrid and separatists wanting to split from Spain.
Puigdemont had been expected to announce an election to head off moves by Madrid to take direct control of the autonomous region in the next few days.
Puigdemont’s stand sets the stage for the Spanish Senate on Friday to approve the take-over of Catalonia’s institutions and police, and give the government in Madrid the power to remove the Catalan president.
Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, speaking in a Senate committee, said: “The independence leaders have shown their true face – they have promised a dream but are performing tricks.”
The aim of Article 155 — the constitutional trigger for direct rule — was to permit any election to take place in a normal and neutral situation, she said.
The Spanish government has said it would call such a vote within six months of taking over Catalonia.