Carles Puigdemont, the president of Catalan regional government has decided to put the Catalonia independence bid on hold and called for dialogues.
Addressing in the highly tensed parliament session aired live by almost all the major world media, Puigdemont has seemingly sent the ball to Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy’s court.
He said the Catalonia has earned the right to independence in a tensed referendum held on October 1 where more than two million people cast their vote defying unprecedented police effort by the Madrid government to halt the referendum.
“Based on the results of October 1st, Catalonia has earned the right to be an independent country and has earned the right to be listened to and respected,” Puigdemont said in the Parliament.
He said, “The ballot boxes are telling us the people are in favor of independence and that is the path we follow.”
The Catalan President then declared a symbolic declaration of independence which is immediate to be put on hold to ensure dialogues with the central government.
“By being the president, I assume my responsibility to declare that Catalonia should become an independent state in the form of a republic,” Puigdemont told.
Acknowledging the ‘people’s will’ to break away from Spain he sought to de-escalate the tension gripped the country over the last few weeks.
Puigdemont later posted on Facebook, “Today I assume the mandate of the village that Catalonia is an independent state in the form of Republic. We do it with all solemnity, for responsibility and respect. And, with the same solemnity, the government and myself, we suggest that parliament suspend the effects of the declaration of independence, so that the next few weeks emprenguem a dialogue, without which it is not possible to reach a solution agreed.”
He also accused the Madrid of denying the Catalan right to self-determination. He said in the parliament that Catalonia is paying taxes to Madrid Excessively.
Puigdemont said, “We are all part of the same community and we need to go forward together. The only way forward is democracy and peace.”
“Today I assume the mandate of the village that Catalonia is an independent state in the form of Republic. We do it with all solemnity, for responsibility and respect. And, with the same solemnity, the government and myself, we suggest that parliament suspend the effects of the declaration of independence.”
The central government has been doing all the tough talks since October 1st referendum. PM Rajoy told the El Pais newspaper “Spain is not going to divide and national unity will be maintained. To do so, we will use all of the instruments that the legislation gives us. It falls to the government to take the decision and to do so at the right time.”
“We are ready for any circumstances because we are already vaccinated against the fanaticism of Mr. Puigdemont and any hope that he will return to sanity and serenity,” said Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, Spain’s deputy prime minister.
The Catalan President Puigdemont, interestingly though, replied to Deputy PM Soraya in his address.
He said, “Our demands have always been expressed peacefully, we are not criminals, we are not crazy, we are not staging a coup. We cannot force the people to accept a status quo that they can’t accept.”