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  • The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont has accused the King of being a government mouthpiece

    The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont has accused the King of being a government mouthpiece | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 October 2017

Carles Puigdemont says Catalans are determined to gain independence and is expected to make a declaration on Monday.

Catalonia's president, Carles Puigdemont has accused Spain's King Felipe of being a government mouthpiece and "deliberately ignoring millions of Catalans." 

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"The king endorses the discourse and policies of the government of [prime minister Mariano] Rajoy, which has been catastrophic for Catalonia and deliberately ignore the millions of Catalans who do not think like them," Puigdemont said in a televised statement.

His comments come three days after more than 900 people were injured by the police as the state tried to stop the independence referendum.

Puigdemont said he favored mediation to find a way out of the crisis but that Spain's central government had rejected this.

The Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government responded by calling on Catalonia to "return to the path of law" before any negotiations.

In a rare address to the nation on Tuesday, the Spanish monarch, King Felipe said Sunday's vote was illegal and unconstitutional.

He also accused the pro-independence leaders of breaking "the unity of Spain" adding the national government should  "ensure the constitutional order and the normal functioning of the institutions."

"[A suspension of Catalonia's autonomy] will be another error in a long list of mistakes. Each week, after every mistake, we’ve gained support from society," Puigdemont added.   

"How can we explain to the world that Europe is a paradise of democracy if we hit old women and people who have done nothing wrong? This is not acceptable," Puigdemont said. "We haven’t seen such a disproportionate and brutal use of force since the death of the dictator Franco." 

The Spanish government argued that the referendum on Catalan independence was illegal because Spain’s 1978 constitution makes no provision for a vote on self-determination.

The Catalan government says 2.26 million people of the registered 5.3 million cast their ballots, with nearly 90 percent voted for an independent state.

But the turnout was only around 43 percent, with those opposed to the vote abstaining.

Expressing his disappointment with Spain's king, Puigdemont said Catalans are determined to gain independence. He is expected to appear in front of the Catalan parliament to make the independence declaration on Monday where the pro-Independence members hold a slim majority. 

"I have to represent all of Catalonia’s citizens,"the Catalan president said. "On Sunday we had a referendum under the most difficult circumstances and set an example of who we are. Peace and accord is part of who we are. We have to apply the results of the referendum. We have to present the results of the referendum to parliament."

Puigdemont urged the European Union to intervene. 

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The EU executive has called again for the Spanish government and Catalan authorities to start dialogue.

“It’s time to talk,” the European Commission’s deputy head, Frans Timmermans, told the European Parliament during an emergency debate on the crisis in Spain.

Timmermans endorsed the legal position of Rajoy but also renewed the appeal for negotiation to find a way out of the impasse.

The European Parliament has called for a "calm and profound deliberation, which will encourage dialogue in Spain," according to a joint statement. 

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