Cata­lan leader wants deal

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - One World -

BARCELONA – Cata­lan leader Car­les Puigde­mont said yes­ter­day his peo­ple voted for in­de­pen­dence from Spain – but that he wanted a ne­go­ti­ated so­lu­tion with Madrid.

He asked the re­gional par­lia­ment in Barcelona to sus­pend the ef­fect of the vote so talks could be­gin – rather than break­ing away im­me­di­ately.

The dis­puted ref­er­en­dum on Oc­to­ber 1 re­sulted in al­most 90 per cent of vot­ers back­ing in­de­pen­dence, said Cata­lan of­fi­cials. Madrid said it was il­le­gal and Spain’s Con­sti­tu­tional Court sus­pended it.

Anti-in­de­pen­dence vot­ers largely boy­cotted the bal­lot – which had a re­ported turnout of 43 per cent – and there were sev­eral re­ports of ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.

Na­tional po­lice were in­volved in vi­o­lent scenes as they man­han­dled vot­ers.

Puigde­mont told the re­gional par­lia­ment that the “peo­ple’s will” was to break away from Madrid, but he also said he wanted to “de-es­ca­late” the ten­sion around the is­sue.

He hailed the ref­er­en­dum process and con­demned the ac­tions of the Span­ish gov­ern­ment, but ac­knowl­edged that peo­ple on all sides were wor­ried about what would hap­pen next.

“We are all part of the same com­mu­nity and we need to go for­ward to­gether. The only way for­ward is democ­racy and peace,” he told deputies.

But he also said Cat­alo­nia was be­ing de­nied the right to self-de­ter­mi­na­tion, and pay­ing too much in taxes to the cen­tral gov­ern­ment in Madrid.

Spain’s Deputy Prime Min­is­ter So­raya Saenz de San­ta­maria re­sponded to yes­ter­day’s de­vel­op­ments by say­ing: “Nei­ther Mr Puigde­mont nor any­body else can claim ... to im­pose me­di­a­tion. Any di­a­logue be­tween democrats has to take place within the law.”

Span­ish Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy has called an ex­tra­or­di­nary cab­i­net meet­ing for this morn­ing to ad­dress the latest moves in the cri­sis. (BBC)

ARMED PO­LICE were de­ployed out­side the Cata­lan par­lia­ment in Barcelona. (BBC pic­ture)

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