11:46 GMT +321 January 2020
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    Catalonia's Independence Referendum (118)

    Catalan President Carles Puigdemont in his first address after the independence referendum said that Catalans had voted for sovereignty and thus he was going to follow the will of the people, however, the Spanish government has a different view on this point.

    MADRID (Sputnik) — The Spanish government cannot recognize Catalan President Carles Puigdemont's proclamation of Catalonia's independence, Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said.

    "Head of the Catalan government Carles Puigdemont extremely destabilized the situation…. The [Spanish] government cannot recognize legitimacy of the Catalan law on referendum, which was frozen by the Constitutional court. The Catalan government cannot implement the results of the October 1 referendum as it was an illegal step," she said on late Tuesday.

    Santamaria pointed out that the majority of Catalans did not want to have an independent state in the form of republic.

    "Nobody including Puigdemont can implement the consequences of the law, which does not exist and the referendum, which did not take place. Nobody including Puigdemont can impose mediation without returning to the legal framework. The dialogue between democracies is being held under the legal framework, with respect for the rules of the game," she said.

    Santamaria added that an emergency meeting of the Spanish council of ministers would take place on Wednesday.

    Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala also said that the latest statement of the head of the Catalan government on Catalonia's independence cannot be regarded as legitimate, because it was made on the basis of a referendum law, which was declared unconstitutional by a court ruling.

    Secretary-General of the Socialists' Party of Catalonia Miquel Iceta believes that Puigdemont has no mandate to proclaim the region’s independence from Spain with the results of the October 1 referendum not being enough for such a decision.

    "38.47 percent [of voters] are not [the majority] of the Catalans," Iceta said on late Tuesday, referring to the ratio of the people, who voted for the Catalan independence, to the whole number of people eligible for vote.

    Earlier in the day, Puigdemont said that according to the results of the referendum held on October 1, he "accepts the mandate of citizens… for Catalonia to become an independent state." However, later, the Catalan leader urged the regional parliament to suspend the declaration of the region's independence and instead push for talks.

    Catalonia's independence referendum, which is not recognized by the Spanish authorities, was held on October 1. The official results of the vote showed that 90.18 percent, or more than 2.28 million voters, supported the secession of Catalonia from Spain, with a turnout exceeding 43 percent. On Tuesday, Spanish King Felipe VI said that the actions of the Catalan government were illegal, accusing it of "inadmissible disloyalty."

    The referendum was overshadowed by violent clashes between independence supporters and Spanish police.



    Catalonia's Independence Referendum (118)


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    independence referendum, 2017 Catalan independence referendum, Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia, Spain
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