The Cable

MADRID (Reuters) - The Spanish government will sack Catalonia’s secessionist leadership and force the region into a new election, it decided on Saturday, unprecedented steps it said were needed to prevent the region breaking away.

The plan, which requires parliamentary approval, is Madrid’s bid to resolve the country’s worst political crisis in four decades, but it risks an angry reaction from independence supporters, who planned street protests later in the day.

Outlining the cabinet’s decision, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Catalonia, which accounts for a fifth of Spain’s economy, was already in worrying economic shape as a result of the regional government’s push for independence.

“We will ask the Senate, with the aim of protecting the general interest of the nation, to authorize the government ... to sack the Catalan president and his government,” Rajoy told a news conference.

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