Confusion Reigns After Catalan Leaders Sign Declaration of Independence
Oct 11 2017 by Francis Osborne
They've signed a declaration which calls on all states and global organisations to recognise Catalonia as an independent and sovereign state.
So he chose the compromise.
Carles Puigdemont announced Tuesday that he "assumes the mandate that Catalonia should become an independent state in the form of a republic", but temporarily suspended the "declaration of independence" to facilitate dialogue with the central government in Madrid.
The declaration reads: "We call on all states and global organisations to recognise the Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state". It is a symbolic statement because it has not been ratified by the Parliament.
But the 54-year-old asked the Catalan parliament to "suspend the effects of the independence declaration to initiate dialogue in the coming weeks". "We're normal people who want to vote". And it's not liked the person.
"Credibility and dignity suggest making the declaration of independence tomorrow (Tuesday)", Jordi Sanchez, the head of the civil group National Catalonia Assembly, said Monday.
Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria responded to Tuesday's developments by saying: "Neither Puigdemont nor anybody else can claim.to impose mediation". Or he could have called for new local parliamentary elections to ratify the results of the referendum and go forward with a united front, although that route was rife with risk and he could have lost support if elections took place.
"After having come so far, and taken Catalonia to the greatest level of tension in its history, President Puigdemont has now subjected his autonomous region to its greatest level of uncertainty".
Saenz de Santamaria said the government couldn't accept the Catalan government's validation of its referendum law because it is suspended by the Constitutional Court, or the results of the October 1 vote because it was illegal and void of guarantees.
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Catalonia "has the right to become independent", Puigdemont declared to cheers from lawmakers.
Spanish officials have repeatedly ruled out talks under any circumstances, and threatened Catalan leaders for the declaration.
Around 90 percent of those who cast ballots voted for independence but the poll was poorly monitored and many Catalans opposed to secession boycotted what Madrid branded an illegal plebiscite.
Despite renewed calls for dialogue with Madrid, the proclamation makes a negotiated solution more hard as Mr Rajoy has said he would not talk to the Catalan leaders until they drop plans for independence.
The area around parliament in the regional capital, Barcelona, was blocked off to the public on Tuesday after hundreds of thousands of people attended demonstrations over the past week for and against independence.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has insisted that his government will do everything in its power, including invoking Article 155 of the Constitution, to stop the Catalan government from declaring independence of the country.
A genuine dialogue between the Spanish and Catalan authorities to resolve the standoff remains highly unlikely.
Then, if this warning wasn't heeded, the Spanish Government can seize control of the region.
Rajoy's conservative government planned to decide on next steps over Catalonia at a meeting on Wednesday, and he was in consultations with other parties about how to proceed.