Regional President Carlos Puigdemont says his government now has a mandate to declare Catalonia independent from Spain but will first facilitate dialogue with the central government in Madrid.
Mr Puigdemont has suspended a declaration of independence, asking to wait for “a few weeks” to have “reasonable dialogue” with the capital.
The Catalan leader said he has been consistently open to dialogue with the government for the entire Catalonian independence process
Puigdemont requested that companies and industries remain in the Catalonian province while negotiations with Madrid go on.
On Oct 1, Catalonians voted an overwhelming 90% in favor of leaving Spain with a 43% turn out. The low attendance is attributed to fears of the police brutality that occurred from the national Civil Gaurd.
The central government in Madrid and Spain’s Constitutional Court considers the referendum to have been illegal and does not recognize its legitimacy.
The anti-independence socialist party leader said after Puigdemont’s speech that a “real” referendum would be held as most Catalonians wish to remain within Spain, which is not concurrent with the referendum results.
Puigdemont said newspaper polls showed strong support in the populace for independence.
Madrid’s response was a criticism of the statement.
“It’s unacceptable to make a tacit declaration of independence to then suspend it an explicit manner,” a spokesperson told AFP news agency.
Carles Puigdemont and other regional politicians signed a document that declares an official independence from Spain, although it would likely not be legally recognized by Madrid.
“Catalonia restores today its full sovereignty,” reads the declaration.
“We call on all states and international organizations to recognize the Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state. We call on the Catalan government to take all necessary measures to make possible and fully effective this declaration of independence and the measures contained in the transition law that founds the republic.”
However, the document does not come into effect and no succession will occur until negotiations occur between Barcelona and Madrid, according to Puigdemont.
French President Emmanuel Macron said in response that he hopes the situation and negotiations “end well”.
The United States
Tensions on edge
Leading up to Tuesday’s declaration and subsequent suspension, the Iberian peninsula was on edge.
Mr Puigdemont was set to address his regional parliament at 6:00 pm local time (12 pm ET) to announce plans for the future of his people, but it was postponed for one hour with reports of extended meetings.
Security at airports and railways in Catalonia were increased dramatically by Madrid as of Tuesday afternoon, with the federal government preparing for an immediate declaration of a republic.
Several high profile banks and companies have recently transferred headquarters out of the region to other cities in Spain, with Madrid lawmakers making it easier for them to do so.
The major concern for businesses is remaining within the European Union, as the EU made clear it would not recognize an independent Catalonia.
The EU allows for profitable exchanges and growth for many corporations.
On Oct 1, Catalonia held an independence referendum that Madrid deemed illegal.
Catalonia’s parliament passed a law that says if a referendum was in positive support for independence, they would have the legal authority to move forward with a declaration.
Spanish national police severely beat and attacked peaceful voters and protesters, and took ballot boxes from polling stations.
World reacts to the referendum
Reactions from European leaders has been mixed in regards to the independence movement in Catalonia. After the Oct 1 vote, some strongly condemned the use the brutal police force utilized by Madrid, but others were more cautious in their approach, aware of independence movements in their own countries or regards to the European Union.
After the Oct 1 vote, some strongly condemned the use the brutal police force utilized by Madrid, but others were more cautious in their approach, aware of independence movements in their own countries or regards to the European Union.
The European Union’s executive commission made clear that the EU’s policy of supporting territorial sovereignty has not changed and stood with Madrid in considering the independence referendum illegal.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization also officially supports territorial sovereignty, of which Spain is apart.
Analysts say that the actions carried out by the Civil Gaurd during the referendum, or national police, have made it awkward in regards to western allies of Spain supporting their aggressive stance against Catalonian independence.
More details to follow. Image 1 of Charles Puigdemont from La Croix.