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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Catalan President accuses Spain’s King Felipe of ‘ignoring will of millions’

Carles Puigdemont said Catalonia would declare independence from Spain within days

Catalan Regional President Carles Puigdemont gestures made a statement in Barcelona. Catalan Government/Jordi Bedmar via Reuters
Catalan Regional President Carles Puigdemont gestures made a statement in Barcelona. Catalan Government/Jordi Bedmar via Reuters

The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, has criticised Spain’s King Felipe VI for adopting Madrid’s position on the banned referendum vote in Catalonia.

Mr Puigdemont said the region would declare independence from Spain within days in a television address filmed in Barcelona.

"The king has adopted the government's position and policies which have been disastrous with regard to Catalonia. He is deliberately ignoring millions of Catalans," the secessionist president said.

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"I am sure that in the next few days we will show the best of our country when the institutions of Catalonia will have to apply the results of the referendum."

On Tuesday, King Felipe gave a rare televised address to the nation condemning the referendum, adding that the organisers acted “outside the law”.

Almost 900 people were injured after security forces closed polling stations on Sunday and dispersed crowds of peaceful supporters of independence for the region with baton charges and rubber bullets.

Mr Puigdemont branded Spain’s government for refusing to accept mediation and called for dialogue between both sides.

"This moment calls for mediation. We have received various offers in the last hours and we will receive more,” he said.

"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."

The Spanish government has said it will not accept involvement by third parties in diffusing the enfolding political crisis.

Mr Puigdemont had called on the European Union to mediate the dispute, but the 28-nation bloc said that it was an internal affair that had to be resolved internally.

Turnout at the vote was estimated at 42 per cent, with Catalan officials saying 90 per cent of those who voted supported independence.

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