Catalan leader proclaims independence but calls for talks with Madrid
The president of Catalonia argued Tuesday evening that the region had earned the right to independence from Spain while suspending the process in order to allow for talks with the central government, according to The New York Times.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont had signed a document declaring independence from Spain, according to Reuters, but immediately delayed its implementation to allow for talks with the Spanish government, which has declared the region’s bid for independence illegal.
Puigdemont called for a delay of several weeks for Catalonia’s move toward independence in order “to open a period of dialogue.”
The Catalan leader called attention to the breakdown of communication and partnership between the region and the central government.
Puigdemont signed the “Declaration of the Representatives of Catalonia” on Tuesday while saying that Catalonia had a “mandate” for independence, according to Reuters.
The declaration follows a referendum for independence in the affluent and semi-autonomous region, where more than 800 were injured in a clash with Spanish police on the day of the vote. The country’s constitutional court declared the referendum illegal.
Puigdemont told the regional parliament that Catalonia had rightly won its independence in the referendum, but he later said they would enter into negotiations with the Spanish government.
Despite speculation over the legality of the referendum, the Spanish Constitution — which the referendum did not have the power to legally amend — declares that the country is “indivisible.”
The constitution also guarantees “the right to autonomy of the nationalities and regions” that make up the country.
A Spanish official told The Associated Press that the “implicit” declaration was invalid.
Deputy Prime Minister María Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said that the Spanish Cabinet would convene an emergency meeting on Wednesday. However, she signaled that the Cabinet would not be open to negotiation, the Guardian reported.
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