Spain's senate has granted prime minister Mariano Rajoy unprecedented powers to impose direct rule on Catalonia after the region’s parliament voted to declare independence on Friday afternoon.
The upper house approved of a series of measures proposed under Article 155 of the Constitution, allowing the central government to effectively assume control of the region and enabling Madrid to remove leaders in Catalonia and take control of the region's police, finances and public media.
Rajoy will now call a cabinet meeting and begin proceedings which will most likely lead to the sacking of Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont.
The Catalan regional parliament earlier in the day voted to declare independence from Spain by a margin of 70 votes to 10.
The result of the vote, which was boycotted by a number of regional MPs who questioned its legality, was greeted with jubilation by pro-independence MPs who began singing the Catalan anthem, 'Els Segadors'.
Thousands gathered outside the Parlament building in Barcelona in support of the decision.
In a tweet posted after the result of the vote, prime minister Mariano Rajoy, said: “I appeal for all Spaniards to stay calm. The rule of law will restore legality in Catalonia."