Belgium: Puigdemont «willing» to meet Rajoy off Spanish turf

Deposed Catalan President Carles Puigdemont announced that he was ready to speak to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy outside of Spain, when speaking from Brussels on Friday, adding that it was time to face the «new political phase in Catalonia, Spain and Europe.» «I am willing to meet in Brussels or any other EU country — but not Spain for obvious reasons — with Prime Minister Rajoy», he said... Еще. He added that the next phase must be led by, «political solutions and not by criminal repression.» The former Catalan president explained that he is now seeking solutions to the crisis, stressing that the results of Thursday's regional election must be respected by all. In answer to a question on whether secessionists are moving closer to independence, Puigdemont agreed, saying that if you look at the results of past elections, «you will see the figures are increasing every consultation.» A total of 81.94 percent of the Catalan electorate cast their vote on Thursday. Ciutadans won the majority of votes, but failed to secure a parliamentary majority, securing 37 parliament seats. Pro-independence Junts per Catalunya and Esquerra Republicana [Republican Left of Catalonia] secured 34 and 32 respectively, which is sufficient to form a ruling coalition, reports say. Regional elections were called by the Spanish government after it brought Catalonia under direct rule by triggering Article 155 of the constitution. This move was in response to a unilateral declaration of independence by the Catalan parliament based on the results of the disputed independence referendum of October 1.

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