Catalan independence: President Quim Torra urges Spain to follow UK example on referendum | World | News

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Mr Torra will meet the Spanish leader, Pedro Sanchez, for the first time on Thursday and will urge him to follow the example of former British Prime Minister David Cameron and let Catalans vote “legally” on the region’s independence.

It will be the first encounter between a Spanish Prime Minister and a Catalan regional leader since the “illegal” October referendum, the unilateral declaration of Catalonia’s independence and the imposition of direct rule from Madrid.

Speaking with the Times, Mr Torra said: “What we have asked for, for years, is a referendum like they had in the United Kingdom with Scotland.

“This could be a way to solve the conflict that exists here.

“90 percent of the population in Catalonia have asked to vote.”

He continued: “We will see what this socialist government says.

“Until now they have always said no.”

The Spanish government sent thousands of police officers to stop an independence vote in Catalonia on October 1.

The vote had been deemed illegal by Spain.

Catalonia’s self-government was suspended by Madrid for over seven months, until a new government, led by Quim Torra, who is also favourable to independence, was elected.

Mr Torra claimed the organising of a meeting with Prime Minister Sanchez was a “positive” step and that he would demand the new socialist leader the release of all imprisoned Catalan politicians, who face trial on different charges that include rebellion, sedition and embezzlement of public funds.

Nine Catalan leaders are currently in prison and seven others are in exile for their role during the secessionist push.

The Catalan leader also said he will urge the Spanish Government to allow Carles Puigdemont, his predecessor, and five other politicians who fled Spain after the imposition of direct rule from Madrid to return home without facing charges.

Before the meeting with Prime Minister Sanchez, however, Mr Torra will hold talks with the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon on July 11 in Edinburgh.

This will be the first high-level meeting between the Catalan and Scottish governments, both led by pro-independence parties, in 10 years.

During his trip to Scotland, Mr Torra will also meet with former Catalan minister Clara Ponsatí and her lawyer, Aamer Anwar.

Ms Ponsatí is currently fighting extradition to Spain in Scottish courts.



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