Catalan Leader Suggests Waiting on Independence (Video)

Pro-independence supporters holding Catalan flags take part in rally near the Parliament, in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Catalonia’s parliament has opened a highly anticipated session, marking a critical point in a decade-long standoff between Catalan separatists and Spain’s central authorities.

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont says he has a mandate to declare independence for the northeastern region, but proposes waiting “a few weeks” in order to facilitate a dialogue.

Puigdemont tells the Catalan parliament that a landslide victory in the region’s disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence gives his government grounds to implement its long-held desire to break century-old ties with Spain. But he is suggesting holding off.

Puigdemont’s speech was highly critical of the Spanish government’s response to the referendum, but he said Catalans have nothing against Spain or Spaniards, and that they want to understand each other better.

At the end of his speech, Puigdemont was applauded by standing separatist lawmakers.

LIVE – Outside Catalan parliament as Catalan president Puigdem…

WATCH LIVE from Barcelona – Catalan President Carles Puigdemont speaks at a plenary session of the Catalan parliament – Source: RuptlyTBU NEWS

Posted by TBU NEWS on Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont gets into a car to depart from the Palau de la Generalitat in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday Oct. 10, 2017 as he heads to the Catalan parliament. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)