Catalan leader wants talks on independence

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has said he would seek to break away from Spain but stopped short of a unilateral declaration of independence.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has said he would seek to break away from Spain but stopped short of a unilateral declaration of independence.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has said he would seek to break away from Spain but stopped short of a unilateral declaration of independence.

"We have won the right to be an independent country," he told the Catalan Parliament yesterday (early today Singapore time), after delaying his address by over an hour. "The ballots say yes to independence and this is the will I want to go forward with."

Around 90 per cent of Catalans who cast ballots on an independence referendum on Oct 1 voted for "yes". But the poll was poorly monitored and many Catalans opposed to secession boycotted an illegal plebiscite that triggered a vio lent police crackdown.

"As the president of Catalonia I want to follow the people's will for Catalonia to become an independent state," said Mr Puidgemont. "I ask for the mandate to make Catalonia an independent republic."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2017, with the headline 'Catalan leader wants talks on independence'. Print Edition | Subscribe