President of Catalania Carles Puigdemont says in a speech to Catalonia regional parliament today that he will abide by the independence “yes” vote for an independent Catalonia nation, but will first seek a negotiated solution with Spain.
He acknowledged that his people voted for independence from Spain. But he asked the regional parliament in Barcelona to suspend the effect of the independence vote so talks with the Spanish government could begin.
Mr Puigdemont said he wanted to “de-escalate” the tension around the issue.
He condemned the Spanish government’s response – including the violence caused by police trying to stop the vote.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier states that Catalans have right to determine future. Catalonia’s future is of particular interest in Scotland, which held its own independence referendum in 2014 – the difference being that it was legal under UK law.
Speaking ahead of Mr Puigdemont’s much-anticipated address, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called for dialogue and said it was “time for the Spanish government to sit down with the government of Catalonia”.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It is time for them to talk and find a way forward – a way forward that respects the rule of law, yes, but a way forward that also respects democracy and respects the right of the people of Catalonia to determine their own future.”
However, European Council President Donald Tusk is among those to have urged Mr Puigdemont not to declare independence. In his latest comments on the situation, the EU leader said the consequences would “obviously be bad for the Catalans, for Spain and for the whole of Europe. Let us always look for what unites us and not for what divides us. This is what will decide the future of our continent.”
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has faced growing pressure not to declare independence – including from influential Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau. Speaking on Monday, she called for de-escalation.
“l’ll again address Carles Puigdemont and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy – I ask them not to take any decision that might blow up the possibility of any space for dialogue and mediation. That’s without any doubt the most valiant act they can do now.” said Ada Colau, Barcelona mayor
Catalan Authorities Report 90% Voted To Leave Spain In Independence Referendum
Catalan authorities reported an overwhelming majority voted to leave Spain in the independence referendum, with 90 per cent of the over two million votes counted saying “yes”. Around 80% of polling stations managed to stay open.
Barcelona says around 2.26m people cast a ballot in the banned referendum despite the Civil Guard’s violent attempts to stop them.
This represents a turnout of about 42.3 per cent of Catalonia’s electorate of 5.34 million people.
The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, welcomed the preliminary results.
He pressed ahead with the referendum despite opposition from the Spanish state and the region’s own high court.
Photo: Catalan Authorities Report 90% Voted To Leave Spain
At least 844 people were injured in a day of violence which saw police in riot gear firing rubber bullets at crowds and beating people who attempted to cast their votes.
The Spanish government has said the referendum was illegal and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy defiantly told reporters “there was no independence referendum today”.
He claimed the Catalan people have been tricked into taking part in an illegal vote accused the regional government of using the referendum as a strategy against legality and democratic harmony and was a “path that leads to nowhere”.