Prime minister Mariano Rajoy announced on Friday evening the decision to dissolve the Catalan parliament and to call new elections in the region for 21 December.
This came after the senate granted Rajoy unprecedented powers under Article 155 of the Constitution to impose direct rule on Catalonia after the region’s parliament voted unanimously to declare independence.
Following a cabinet meeting, during which the removal of Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, and his ministers was approved, Rajoy said: "The Spanish are living through a sad day in which foolishness has prevailed over the law."
He promised that Catalonia would be returned to legal and constitutional order. "Puigdemont had the chance to call elections and now the government is calling elections in Catalonia to give Catalans back their voice."
Throughout the day, the European Union, the UK, Germany and the United States all said they would not recognise Catalan independence and expressed their will for Spanish unity to be preserved.