Catalonia’s leader Artur Mas said on Saturday he would step aside to avoid regional elections for a new government that will work towards the independence of the region from Spain.
The leader announced he would step aside and struck an agreement to form a new regional government after the January 9 deadline, after which there will be fresh regional elections.
"I am going to step to one side. I will not offer myself as candidate for (the pro-independence coalition) Junts pel Si for my reelection as president of Catalonia," Mas told a news conference in Barcelona.
Catalonia, worth a fifth of Spain's economic output, has been unable to form a government since a regional election in September last year due to disagreements between the winning and pro-independence coalition parties.
Last year, Catalonia's pro-independence regional parliament voted for a separate social security system and treasury, aiming for complete independence by 2017.