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Puigdemont: Independence not the only solution to Catalonia crisis

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Puigdemont: Independence not the only solution to Catalonia crisis
File photo of Carles Puigdemont. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP
09:21 CET+01:00
Catalonia's deposed president Carles Puigdemont says he is prepared to accept a new relationship with Spain that does not involve independence.

In a new interview with Belgian newspaper Le Soir, the 54-year-old conceded that "another solution which isn't independence is possible", suggesting a softening in stance on the region's secessionist push.

Puigdemont also said that he is prepared to "accept the reality of another relationship with Spain" and that even as someone who is pro-independence he had worked for many years to build such a relationship, but "the arrival of (former Spanish PM José María) Aznar to power stopped that process".

"The PP is responsible for this pro-independence resurgence," he insisted, pointing to 2006 when the party led a legal challenge against a new Catalan Statute of Autonomy which had been approved by Spain's parliament then ratified by voters in Catalonia in a referendum.

READ ALSO: An historical look at the drive for Catalan independence

Despite that, after four years of deliberating, Spain's Constitutional Court in 2010 declared large parts of the statute unconstitutional or inapplicable. That is seen as a watershed moment in the region's shift towards a push for independence, and sparked a major protest in Barcelona soon after.

Puigdemont is currently in self-imposed exile in Brussels, awaiting possible extradition to Spain after an EU-wide arrest warrant was issued over charges of rebellion.

READ ALSO: Mass protest in Barcelona demands freedom for Catalan leaders

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