Catalonia moves closer to declaring independence from 'authoritarian state' Spain

Catalonia moves closer to declaring independence from 'authoritarian state' Spain

Catalonia moves closer to declaring independence from 'authoritarian state' Spain

Updated 5 October 2017, 18:25 AEDT

Spain's Prime Minister and Catalonia's regional leader continue to trade barbs as the north-eastern region says it could declare independence from as early as next week.

Spain's Prime Minister and Catalonia's regional leader have continued to trade barbs as the north-eastern region says it could declare independence from as early as next week.

Key points

  • Catalan politician says region could declare independence as soon as Monday
  • Regional leader Carles Puigdemont says he is in favour of mediation
  • Spain's Prime Minister says they won't negotiate until Puigdemont respects the law

The controversial vote on Sunday was ruled illegal by Madrid and less than half of the northern region participated in the referendum.

But those who participated overwhelmingly voted to leave Spain, and leaders said they had a mandate to push for independence.

Mireia Boya, a Catalan politician from the pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) party, said on Twitter a declaration of independence would follow a parliamentary session on Monday to evaluate the results of the vote to break away.

"We know that there may be disbarments, arrests … but we are prepared, and in no case will it be stopped," she said.

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont said he was in favour of mediation to find a way out of the Catalan crisis but that the Spanish government had not accepted it.

"This moment calls for mediation. We have received various offers in the last hours and we will receive more. All of them know I am ready to start a mediation process," he said in a televised address.

"I will repeat it as many times as necessary: dialogue and agreement are part of the political culture of our people. However, the state has not given any positive answer to those offers," he said.

The office of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy released a statement saying if Mr Puigdemont wants talks or mediation with the central Government over the region's future, he first needs to respect the law.

"If Mr Puigdemont wants to talk or negotiate, or wants to send mediators, he know perfectly what he first needs to do: go back to the law," the statement said.

Earlier, Mr Puigdemont he would ask the region's Parliament to declare independence following the poll, which Spain's Government and constitutional court say was illegal and in which only a minority of Catalans voted.

"This will probably finish once we get all the votes in from abroad at the end of the week and therefore we shall probably act over the weekend or early next week," he told the BBC.

In an interview with German newspaper Bild, Mr Puigdemont said he already felt like, "a president of a free country where millions of people have made an important decision".

He said the Madrid Government's refusal to negotiate had left Catalonia "no other way" than to declare independence and accused it of authoritarianism.

"The Spanish Government is letting political opponents be arrested, it is influencing media and blocking internet sites. We are under observation day and night," Mr Puigdemont said.

"What is that other than an authoritarian state?"

Spain was only restored to democracy following the death in 1975 of dictator Francisco Franco, under whom the Catalan language and traditions were suppressed.

Reuters