The Spanish government could use its constitutional powers to suspend Catalonia's autonomy and prevent the region from splitting from Spain, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says.
In an interview with newspaper El Pais published late on Saturday he was asked if he was ready to trigger the article 155 of the constitution, which enables him to sack the regional government and call a fresh local election.
"I don't rule out absolutely anything that is within the law ... Ideally, it shouldn't be necessary to implement extreme solutions but for that not to happen things would have to be changed," he said.
Rajoy also said he planned to leave in Catalonia the extra 4,000 police officers the government had shipped in to region for an independence vote on October 1 until the crisis was over.
The conservative prime minister added he would not call a snap national election as a result of the political crisis and ruled out using mediation to resolve it.