The Spanish autonomous region’s left-wing leader Pere Aragones said in a brief late-night statement on Wednesday that he had lost confidence in his deputy, Jordi Puigneró, and fired him.
The two men belong to two different parties that are competing for the same separatist voters, which surveys suggest is just under 50 per cent of Catalans.
They were divided on how to achieve independence from Spain.
Aragonès’ Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) party advocated a new referendum be negotiated with the central government, while Puigneró’s JuntsXCat wanted to move forward with independence.
Moving forward even if Madrid did not give its blessing to a referendum.
It was unclear on Thursday whether the two parties would pull the plug on their coalition.
JuntsXCat called Puigneró’s sacking a historic mistake that violated the government’s agreement and disregards the mandate of the voters.
A referendum by Catalonia’s regional government on secession from Spain took place on Oct. 1, 2017, but without the blessing of the central government in Madrid.
Spanish police in some cases used force to prevent ballots from being cast.
The ‘yes’ vote won but Spain’s Constitutional Court declared the referendum illegal.
Catalonia, a wealthy region of north-eastern Spain, was then temporarily put under the direct rule of Madrid.
Regional leader Carles Puigdemont and some of his comrades-in-arms then fled abroad.
Other separatists were sentenced to long prison terms but were pardoned in 2021.