Catalonia and Spain in Uncharted Waters

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- It's a key day in the standoff between Spain and the Catalonia region.

The Catalan president could defuse Spain's deepest political crisis in decades by calling a snap regional election. Or he could crystalize separatist threats by formalizing an independence declaration, something that could land him in jail.

Carles Puigdemont is expected to announce his decision at a session in the regional parliament in Barcelona that starts Thursday and could stretch into Friday.

Regardless of his choice, the Catalan cabinet is set to become the first regional government in Spain to be removed in four decades of democracy. On Friday, the Senate in Madrid is expected to authorize the central government to directly rule the splintering region of 7.5 million.