Catalan independence referendum: Carles Puigdemont says vote is binding and demands police forces withdraw

Catalan independence referendum: Carles Puigdemont says vote is binding and demands police forces withdraw

Carles Puigdemont claims the vote is binding

Monday, October 2, 2017

The President of the Catalan regional parliament has insisted yesterday's referendum is binding and insisted that national police agents withdraw.

Catalonia's unofficial independence referendum returned an overwhelming majority in favour of secession, with more than 90% of voters backing 'yes'.

Catalan authorities also claimed that around 800,000 people had been prevented from voting due to the heavy-handed tactics of Spain's Guardia Civil police force, thousands of whose officers were drafted in to close polling stations and block those going to vote.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has insisted the vote is illegal, even going as far as to say that no referendum actually took place yesterday. But regional president Carles Puidgemont has refuted that claim in a press conference today, insisting that the vote has full legal weight.

Puigdemont also "demanded [the] withdrawal of all those police forces deployed to Catalonia."

The Catalan leader has been criticised in Madrid for his perceived belligerence, but he insisted in the press conference that he is prepared to talk with Rajoy, provided the government does not try to impose conditions upon the talks.

Nonetheless, he insisted the Catalan government is now duty-bound to push forward with its independence plan and take all appropriate political measures towards that end.