The Spanish government has called an emergency cabinet meeting for October 21 to trigger the procedure to suspend Catalonia's autonomy, after its leader threatened to declare independence.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's office said on October 19 that the cabinet will meet to activate Article 155 of Spain's constitution allowing Madrid to impose direct rule on a region if it doesn't comply with its legal obligations.
The government needs to outline the measures it wants to apply in Catalonia and submit them for a vote in Spain's Senate.
Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont, who faced an October 19 deadline set by the central government to abandon his bid for independence, warned that the regional parliament would vote on splitting from Spain if Madrid "continues repression."
After a disputed referendum on independence on October 1, Puigdemont signed an independence declaration before halting its implementation and calling for negotiations with Madrid.
About 43 percent of Catalonia's electorate voted in the referendum. Regional authorities say 90 percent voted "yes" and declared the results valid. Central authorities in Madrid had declared the vote illegal.