Catalonia leader

Catalonian president Carles Puigdemont is set to call a snap regional election for 20 December, according to local media reports.

The move could help break a one-month deadlock between the Spanish government and Catalan separatists seeking independence from Spain.

Barcelona-based La Vanguardia said Mr Puigdemont had taken the decision in an attempt to convince the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy not to enforce direct rule in the region.

Mr Puigdemont will deliver an address at 12.30pm, his office has said.

Catalan freedom

Calling an election could either strengthen Mr Puigdemont’s mandate if pro-independence parties won, or allow him a graceful exit if they did not.

However, it could also heighten divisions within the secessionist camp and bring the current campaign to a halt.

Cracks have appeared in the secessionist coalition afer 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.