Defiant Catalan leader refuses to back down

CATALUÑA’S President Carles Puigedemont has again said that independence will be declared in “a matter of days.”

Speaking to the BBC, he insisted that his government would “act at the end of this week or the beginning of next” and that he wanted a “new understanding” with the Spanish government.

It comes as Spain’s King Felipe last night addressed the nation in a speech where he condemned the referendum, branding it “illegal” and “undemocratic.”

Puigdemont has stated that if the Spanish government tried to intervene and take control of Catalonia´s government that it would be “an error which changes everything.”

The Catalonian president also said there was currently no contact between the government in Madrid and his devolved administration whilst disagreeing with the European Commission’s statement that events in Catalonia were an internal issue for Spain.

More than 2.2 million people reportedly voted with the Catalan government claiming the vote in support of independence was nearly 90 per cent.

Official results have not yet been released but the turnout was estimated at just 42 per cent, a figure which could potentially weaken the position of Puigdemont.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said the vote made “a mockery of democracy.”

Rajoy has held talks with Pedro Sanchez, leader of Spain’s Socialist party, and Albert Rivera, the head of the Ciudadanos party.

Sanchez urged Rajoy to hold talks with the Catalan president immediately but Rivera said Spain should invoke article 155 of the constitution which would effectively suspend Catalonia’s autonomous powers.

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