Catalonia Suspends Declaration of Independence for Talks with Madrid

by Garry Watts October 12, 2017, 0:22
Catalonia Suspends Declaration of Independence for Talks with Madrid

Puigdemont's proposal to suspend the declaration of independence to allow for negotiations pulled the region back from the brink of an unprecedented showdown with Madrid but drew criticism from both the Spanish government and the leader of the opposition in the Catalan Parliament.

"Catalonian President Puigdemont said that the October 1 referendum gave the Catalan government a mandate to pursue independence, but not immediately".

Rajoy called an emergency meeting after Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont announced Tuesday that he had accepted the mandate for "Catalonia to become an independent state" following a banned referendum earlier this month.

Addressing the Catalan Parliament in Barcelona, Puigdemont said the autonomous region had won the right to be independent as a result of the vote.

"I propose suspending the effects of the declaration of independence to undertake talks in the coming weeks without which it is not possible to reach an agreed solution".

He said the "people's will" was to break away from Madrid, but he also said he wanted to "de-escalate" the tension around the issue.

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Wednesday, a government source who refused to be named said "all options" were on the table as the crisis talks were under way.

In Brussels, there was a sense of relief that the euro zone's fourth-largest economy now had at least bought some time to deal with a crisis that was still far from over.

"Yesterday I tried to send a message of calmness and to remind people that we are facing a political problem that we need to solve with politics and not with police", he said.Hundreds of people were injured in Catalonia on October 1 as Spanish national police sought to prevent the referendum going ahead.

European Council President Donald Tusk had urged Puigdemont not to proclaim independence.

The question of Catalan independence, the Spanish Government's handling of the situation, and theEuropean Union's response were running themes at the SNP conference this week, with a topical resolution passed by members expressing support for the Catalan people in the face of police violence.

The Catalan government said 90 percent of those who voted backed independence but turnout was only 43 percent as many opponents of independence stayed at home.


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