Carles Puigdemont addressing the Catalonian parliament. | Reuters


Carles Puigdemont this evening announced in the Catalonia parliament that his government is proposing a suspension of a declaration of independence for a few weeks. He said that his government wants dialogue and mediation with the Spanish state but asked for a mandate to declare Catalonia an independent state.

Prior to this, he explained that "as the president of Catalonia, I want to follow the people's will for Catalonia to become an independent state". This appeared as though it might have been paving the way for a declaration of independence, but at the very start of his address he had spoken about a need for de-escalation, adding that he was not planning to make any threats.

Puigdemont, talking to an international audience as much as to a domestic one, outlined reasons for Catalonian grievances since the death of Franco and the establishment of the 1978 Constitution. He also referred to the horrible images of attacks on people who had wished to take part in the referendum on 1 October.

Speaking for a time in Spanish, he said: "We have nothing against Spain. We want to have a better understanding with Spain. The relationship hasn’t been working for many years, and now it’s unsustainable."

His address was delayed by more than a hour, raising speculation as to disagreement with the radical CUP and the possibility of there having been some last-minute intervention.

During the day, there had been many calls for him not to declare independence, and these came, among others, from the Balearic president, Francina Armengol, and the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau.