Catalan President Carles Puigdemont addresses parliament, today
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont addresses parliament, todayReuters

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont asked the Catalan Parliament to suspend the vote on the expected declaration of independence from Spain Tuesday.

In a speech to the parliament, Puigdemont announced that he would seek dialogue with the Spanish government over Catalonia's campaign for independence, and that the declaration of independence would be temporarily suspended to give negotiations a chance.

"At this historical moment as president of Catalonia, I want to follow the people's will for Catalonia to become an independent state," Puigdemont said, referencing the referendum on independence held in Catalonia last week,

According to to Catalan government, 90% of voters who participated in the referendum voted in favor of independence.

The Spanish government considers the referendum to be illegal and attempted to prevent the vote from taking place. Nearly 500 people were wounded in clashes with police on the day of the vote.

"We propose to suspend the effect of the independence declaration... in order to work towards putting into practice the result of the referendum," Puigdemont declared during his speech. "Today, we are making a gesture of responsibility in favor of dialogue."

We are not criminals, we are not mad," he continued. "We are normal people, and we just want to vote. We have been ready to talk and have dialogue. We have nothing against Spain. We want to have a better understanding with Spain. The relationship hasn’t been working for many years, and now it’s unsustainable."

He called on both sides to work to deescalate the situation. “I’m not going to make any threats, the situation is really serious and we have to assume our responsibilities. We need deescalate the situation, not feed it any longer."

The Spanish government has threatened to seize control of the Catalan Regional Government if Catalonia goes ahead with its declaration of independence, in accordance with article 155 of the Spanish constitution.