Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to delay independence declaration

Catalonia voted for independence by an overwhelming margin on Sunday, but turnout was low

Catalan separatists wave the Estelada, a version of the region's flag reserved for independence supporters, in protest at the violence witnessed during Sunday's referendum

Friday, October 6, 2017

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has delayed his appearance before the region's Parliament, effectively postponing Catalonia's declaration of independence.

Puigdemont had planned to appear before an extraordinary session of the Catalan Parliament on Monday (October 9) where he was expected to unilaterally declare independence.

However he has decided to delay his appearance, and will now appear at a session on Tuesday instead.

This decision comes after the Spanish Government blocked the Parliament from convening on Monday. It is not clear whether Spain will also seek to suppress Tuesday's session.

Sunday's referendum returned an overwhelming majority in favour of independence, with 90% of Catalans who participated voting to secede from Spain.

Turnout was well under 50%, with only 2.2 million of Catalonia's 5.3 million registered voters turning out to cast their ballot.

However regional leaders claim a further 800,000 people were prevented from voting, due to the widespread violence witnessed at polling stations across Catalonia.

Puigdemont has pledged to honour the result of the referendum despite its low turnout, promising earlier this week that he will declare independence either at the weekend or early next week.

The extraordinary meeting of Catalonia's Generalitat is seen as the most likely venue for this declaration, given that other senior figures will be present and Catalonia will be seen to be following due political process.