Catalonia's acting head, Artur Mas, will step down as the pro-independence leader of the Spanish region in order to avoid new regional elections, local media said Saturday.

Catalonia has been unable to form a government since an election in September due to disagreements between the pro-independence parties who together gained a majority. If a new candidate is not chosen before Jan. 11, new regional elections will be called automatically.

El Mundo newspaper said Mas, in power since 2010, would be replaced by the mayor of the Catalan region of Girona, Carles Puigdemont.