Independence in Catalonia on hold

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Carles Puigdemont.

NOW is not the time for independence in Catalonia according to its separatist leader Carles Puigdemont. 

After being elected in January to Catalonia’s semi-autonomous government with the idea of fast-tracking the region towards independence, the leader has now stated that this is not on the agenda within the original 18-month time frame. 

Asked whether he is pushing for independence, Puigdemont told Spain’s economic Daily Expansion that he was not. 

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He stated: “Because it’s not planned and it’s not our commitment,” he said in an interview on Monday April 4. 

But “we will do all the work necessary for this country to become an independent state,” he added.

The pro-independence parliament in Catalonia has been working to put in place administrative structures such as a regional treasury and a social security system in view of looming independence.  

The time frame has never been completely known but now Puigdemont’s comments have confirmed that the 18-month time frame isn’t going ahead. 

Sources have said that the regional government in Catalonia is planning to call new parliamentary elections when the 18 months are up. Many regional government members hope the new elections will be composed mainly of a majority of pro-independence members, who will initiate new laws and independence for the region which includes Barcelona. 

Although Spain is still stuck in a political stalemate after the inconclusive December elections, most of the main political parties do not support independence for Catalonia apart from Podemos who would offer a referendum to the people of Catalonia. 

At present there is a fair amount of freedom from the central Spanish government in Catalonia for example, education, health and the police service but tax remains a sore subject in Catalonia. 

In the interview, Puigdemont asked that the future government issue a referendum to resolve the dispute for good.  

He said: “If a prime minister or prime ministerial candidate suggests it, we will take a position and help them.” 

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