Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday gave Catalonia five days to confirm whether it had declared independence from Spain and an extended three days to withdraw the declaration if it does. Spain will strip the region of its autonomy and impose direct rule if Catalonia does not cancel its independence declaration, BBC reported.

Spain is set to mark its national day on Thursday with its biggest celebration in years, The Independent reported.

On Wednesday, Catalonia’s President Carles Puigdemont and regional leaders Catalan leaders signed a declaration of independence. The separatist administration, however, also suspended acting on the declaration to make way for dialogue with Madrid.

The prime minister gave Catalonia the ultimatum at an emergency Cabinet meeting. He accused Carles Puigdemont of causing “deliberate confusion”.

“There is an urgent need to put an end to the situation that Catalonia is going through – to return it to safety, tranquillity and calm and to do that as quickly as possible,” Puigdemont said.
Catalan leaders had said the result of the October 1 referendum result was in favour of independence for the north-eastern province. The turnout for the referendum, which was marred by violence and had been declared illegal by the Spanish government, was 42.3%.