Catalan independence: Carles Puigdemont speech suspended without explanation

Carles Puigdemont is ready to row back from his independence demand, according to Spanish sources

Carles Puigdemont was due to speak this afternoon

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A speech by the President of Catalonia has been suspended without an explanation.

Carles Puigdemont had been due to speak at 1:30 local time this afternoon.

However the speech was first put back an hour, and then, moments before Puigdemont was due to appear, it was announced that the speech had been suspended, according to El Pais.

However the session of the Catalan Parliament slated for 5pm local time this afternoon is still due to take place.

Puigdemont had been expected to avoid issuing a unilteral declaration of independence, according to sources in Spain.

It was believed that Puigdemont would instead propose fresh elections in Catalonia, according to Nacio Digital.

In return, he was expected to demand that Spain softens its own position and refrains from implementing Article 155 - the emergency constitutional clause which would allow it to take control of Catalan institutions.

Catalonia's separatist movement has been driven with in-fighting in recent days, with hard-line members of the CUP movement demanding that independence be declared in full and as soon as possible, in light of the region's independence referendum on October 1.

The referendum returned a majority of around 90% in favour of independence, although only around 38% of the electorate cast their ballots and critics suggested the vote did not meet international standards.

Following the vote Puigdemont gave a headline speech in the Catalan Parliament, but, rather than declaring independence, he merely declared his intention to pursue it.

Spain maintains the independence vote was illegal and declared its intention to use Article 155 to take control of key Catalan institutions such as the police and the media.