Catalan President Carles Puigdemont on Wednesday signed the declaration of independence from Spain following the October 1 referendum. Puigdemont, however, said the effects of the declaration have been suspended to make way for dialogue with the Spanish administration to arrive at a resolution.
Catalan leaders had said the referendum’s result was in favour of independence for the north-eastern province. The turnout for the referendum, which was marred by violence and had been declared illegal by the Spanish government, was 42.3%, BBC had reported.
“With the results of the referendum on October 1st, Catalonia has earned the right to be an independent state, and has earned the right to be heard and respected,” Puigemont said in his address. “We firmly believe that this moment needs not only a de-escalation of tension but also a clear and committed willingness to advance the claims of the people of Catalonia.”
Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, however, dismissed the Catalan leader’s call for dialogue. “Neither Mr Puigdemont nor anybody else can claim... to impose mediation,” Santamaria said, BBC reported. “Any dialogue between democrats has to take place within the law.”
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called for an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Wednesday to discuss the developments.