Carles Puigdemont, leader of the Catalonia government, announced [BBC report] Monday that the autonomous Spanish region had “won the right to an independent state in the form of a republic” after conducting a heated referendum in the region, despite the action being opposed by many international actors.
International critics of the election quickly rushed to denounce any decision of the vote. The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker [official website] stated [press release], “yesterday’s vote in Catalonia was not legal” and that this is an “internal matter for Spain that has to be dealt with in line with the constitutional order of Spain.”
The vote, which drew a turnout of 42.3 percent of registered voters, was in favor of Independence by a margin of 90 percent to 10. The legality of the referendum is what will continue to be a contentious issue as the Spanish courts had suspended [JURIST report] the referendum early in September and continued to try and stop the region from voting over the last month.
Puigdemont called Monday for international mediation to help solve the conflict. He stated [Reuters report] that this is not a domestic matter and that “[Catalans] don’t want a traumatic break. … We want a new understanding with the Spanish state.”