Catalonia independence declaration from Spain on hold

Reuters

Reuters

Top Catalan leaders signed a declaration making them an independent republic, but President Carles Puigdemont, the putative head of state for Catalonia, also suspended the declaration, pending talks with Spain.

Puigdemont told the Barcelona regional parliament that the result provided a popular mandate for independence and he called for talks and reduced tensions.

ALESSIA MARTINEZ: I think people who voted yes on the 1st of October and people who went there and were hitted by the police - they want a yes now.

He said a landslide victory in the region's disputed October 1 referendum on independence gives his government grounds to implement its long-held desire to break century-old ties with Spain.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy addresses the Spanish Parliament tomorrow, and that's when he could begin the process of stripping the Catalan regional government of its powers, effectively taking over this region.

"In the event there will be a declaration of independence, I will tell the board that my advice and my recommendation would be to change Freixenet's headquarters", he told CNN.

"If an autonomous community does not fulfil the obligations imposed upon it by the constitution or other laws, or acts in a way seriously prejudicing the general interests of Spain, the Government, after lodging a complaint with the president of the autonomous community and failing to receive satisfaction therefore, may, following approval granted by an absolute majority of the Senate, take the measures necessary in order to compel the latter forcibly to meet said obligations, or in order to protect the above-mentioned general interests."
"He wants dialogue", said Xavier Arbos, a constitutional law expert based in Barcelona.

"This crisis needs to be resolved through dialogue at all levels of Spanish politics", France's European affairs minister Nathalie Loiseau said. After that, a signed Declaration of Independence will kick in.

Despite the unlawful context of the election, Puigdemont insisted on its legitimacy and proclaimed Catalonia's independence as an independent republic - though he then immediately abandoned the call for independence and demanded dialogue.

Throughout the day, the Catalan government had remained tight-lipped.

Reaction among those who had hoped to witness a historic moment for a region deeply-divided over independence was mixed. Its legal value was unclear.

It is not clear whether the far-left, pro-independence CUP would maintain its key support for Puigdemont's government.

He said, "It's an important time for us, and if it's not today, we will have to wait again another generation - 30 or 40 more years".

On the other side, the Catalan government has complained of police brutality during the referendum and said that the Spanish government was seeking to stifle democracy.

Tuesday's declaration was largely symbolic because it was not formally endorsed by the regional parliament.

The central government fired back, with a spokesman rejecting what Madrid termed Catalonia's "tacit" independence declaration.

"Diversity should not, and need not, lead to conflict, whose consequences would obviously be bad for the Catalans, for Spain and for the whole of Europe", Tusk said in a speech in Brussels.

Dr Uxo says civil unrest is much more likely than civil war, primarily because Catalonia doesn't have an army or trained personnel, but also because civil unrest would be seen as a better path towards gaining worldwide recognition for independence.

However, Rajoy has ruled out mediation and has said he will not talk to Catalan leaders unless they abandoned their ambition of declaring independence.

Demonstrators challenge Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra regional police officers at the end of a march in downtown Barcelona, Spain, to protest the Catalan government's push for secession from the rest of Spain, Sunday Oct. 8, 2017.

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