Rajoy said the government was seeking unprecedented constitutional authority to ”restore order” in Catalonia.
The government did not initially want or intend to rule Catalonia directly, according to Rajoy, but took this unprecedented step to ensure that public services and the economy remain functional.
Rajoy requested the Senate authorize him to dissolve the Catalan government. Central government ministers will assume the powers of Catalonia’s officials, Rajoy said.
His cabinet has invoked Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution which allows Madrid to intervene and impose direct rule when one of Spain’s seventeen autonomies does not abide by the law.
The leader of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont is expected take part in a protest later in the day and address the Spanish government’s decision in a speech. Earlier, Puigdemont had threatened to call a vote in the regional parliament for an open declaration of independence from Spain.