Catalonia's leader Carles Puigdemont said Thursday he had considered calling elections in an effort to ease the separatist crisis as Madrid prepares to seize control of the region, but decided there were no "guarantees" to do so.
In a televised statement, he said it was now "up to the (regional) parliament," which is expected to meet later Thursday, to decide on how to respond to the central government's planned takeover of Catalan political powers following an outlawed independence referendum.
"I was ready to call an election if guarantees were given. There is no guarantee that justifies calling an election today," Puigdemont said.
Spain's conservative government had initially offered to halt the extraordinary measures if new elections were to be called in Catalonia, but has recently said that the takeover plan is unstoppable. The Spanish Senate is scheduled to approve the plan on Friday.
The government "will create an even more serious, extraordinary situation by seizing Catalonia's political autonomy," Puigdemont warned in a letter to the Senate Thursday.
An early election could help defuse Spain's deepest political crisis in four decades since the country restored democratic rule after Gen. Francisco Franco's dictatorship.
Puigdemont risked being charged with rebellion, something that could have landed him in jail.