Madrid has officially taken direct control of Catalonia and fired the defiant provincial leadership, according to a decree by Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy’s cabinet published in the government’s official newspaper, Boletin Oficial del Estado (BOE). The Spanish government has handed control of Catalonia to Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria. The document also lists measures aimed at stripping Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, as well as the regional government, of all legal and statutory powers. Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Rajoy announced the dismissal of Puigdemont and his cabinet, as well as the head of the regional police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra. He also dissolved the Catalan parliament and announced a snap election will be held in the region on December 21.

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