Earlier in the day, the Spanish government held am emergency session and discussed the possibility of invoking the article of the country's constitution that could be used to suspend Catalonia's autonomous status amid the crisis caused by recent independence referendum.
"The government had to invoke the article 155. But it was neither our wish, nor our intention," Rajoy said at a press conference.
"We have four goals: to restore legitimacy, to return to the normal situation and cohabitation, to restore economy and to hold election," the prime minister said.
The prime minister then clarified that the region's autonomy was not suspended but Madrid rather decided to dissolve the local parliament and call for early election.
"Neither Catalonia's autonomy, nor self-administration is suspended, only the people, who have put this self-administration beyond the scope of laws, the constitution and the Statute [of Catalonia]," Rajoy added.
The head of the Spanish government said his goal was to hold snap election to the regional parliament as soon as the normal situation in the region was restored, adding that the vote could take place within six months.
Spanish government will hand over a document on invoking the article 155 of the country’s Constitution, which envisages suspension of some of Catalonia's autonomy under specific conditions, to the Senate for final approval, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said.
On October 10, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont announced that the results of the referendum held on October 1, enabling a declaration of independence. However, the Catalan leader called on the regional parliament to suspend the proclamation in order to make way for dialogue with Madrid, but signed the declaration anyway.
Following the move, Madrid asked the Catalan authorities to clarify whether independence had been declared or not. Puigdemont failed to meet the deadline, which expired on Thursday.