Catalonian president Carles Puigdemont is set to call a snap regional election for Dec. 20, local media said on Thursday, a move that could help break a one-month deadlock between the Madrid government and Catalan separatists seeking independence from Spain.
Barcelona-based La Vanguardia said Puigdemont had taken the decision in a bid to convince the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy not to enforce direct rule in the region. Puigdemont will deliver an address at 1.30 p.m (1130 GMT), his office said.
Calling an election could either strengthen Puigdemont’s mandate if pro-independence parties won, or allow him a graceful exit if they did not. But it could also heighten divisions within the secessionist camp and bring the current campaign to a halt. Cracks appeared late on Thursday in the secessionist coalition as members backed a vote while others said there was no alternative to independence.
An opinion poll published by the El Periodico newspaper on Sunday showed a snap election would probably have results similar to the last ballot, in 2015, when a coalition of pro-independence parties formed a minority government.