On Thursday, Spain announced that it is going to suspend the autonomy of Catalonia and impose direct rule on the region. This decision came after Catalonian President Carles Puigdemont refused to abandon the threat of pushing for independence in the face of a deadline that was set for October 20th. Now, the Catalonian crisis will move into a different stage following the unprecedented step that has been taken by the Spanish government.

Deadline passes for Catalonia and Puigdemont

Spain's government had set Thursday, October 20th, as the deadline for Catalonia to abandon its plans to declare independence.

However, according to Reuters Carles Puigdemont sent a letter Thursday morning to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy making a different set of demands.

He argued that the only way to end the crisis was to hold talks on the issue and threatened to announce a unilateral declaration of independence if Spain's government did not agree to do so. Rajoy had already said in past weeks that he was unwilling to hold talks unless Catalonia, decided to “return to the path of law.”

Puigdemont also accused Spain of trying to repress the independence movement following the jailing of two secessionist leaders, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, by Span's High Court on Monday. He also argued that the use of article 155 of the 1978 constitution to impose direct rule, which is exactly what Spain would do hours later, would force his hand.

Spain imposes direct rule

This letter and the passing of the deadline prompted the Spanish government to take the unprecedented step of enacting article 155, which has never been used before. This will suspend autonomy and impose direct rule on Catalonia in an attempt to end the country largest political crisis in four decades.

According to The Guardian. Spain's government said in a Thursday morning statement that Puigdemont had once again failed to confirm whether Catalonia had declared independence. Spain's government also issued a scathing rebuke in their statement saying that Catalonia leaders were, “deliberately and systematically seeking institutional confrontation.”

How article 155 will play out

The first step upon article 155 being enacted is that Spain's government will have to file a formal complaint with Puigdemont. They will then have to submit their proposals to the Senate for debate and approval. It will take a few days before all of this can be done before autonomy can be suspended and direct rule imposed.