Home Global News Catalan President Signs Declaration of Independence only to put it on Hold

Catalan President Signs Declaration of Independence only to put it on Hold

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

New Delhi: Catalan leaders signed a declaration of independence from Spain on Tuesday but immediately put it on hold amid call for talks with Madrid over the country’s worst political crisis in decades.

In a speech to regional lawmakers in Barcelona, Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said he had accepted “the mandate of the people for Catalonia to become an independent republic” following a banned referendum on October 1.

“I wish to address the people; those who came out on the 1st and the 3rd of October, those who went to the demonstration on Saturday to advocate for dialogue, and those who came out massively on Sunday in defense of the unity of Spain. And to those who haven’t come out in any of those gatherings. All of us, with all of our differences, with all our points of understanding and divergence, all form part of the same people, and we must continue to work together, whatever happens, because that is how the history of a people who want to build a future is made,” he said.

The President also criticized the attack on the voters and participants who came out to vote in the referendum. He lamented that the attack like this was unheard of in European democracies.

“We are here because on the 1st of October Catalonia held a referendum of self-determination. It was done in conditions, which were, rather than difficult, extreme. It’s the first time in the history of European democracies that an election day was held in the midst of violent police attacks against voters who were cueing to post their vote. From 8 in the morning until the close of polling stations, the Police and Guardia Civil beat defenseless people and obliged the emergency services to attend to more than 800 people. We all saw it, as did the world, which was horrified as the images came through,” he added.

Demands for independence in Catalonia, which has its own language and cultural traditions, date back centuries.

The speech received both praise and criticism from separatists and the Catalonians.