Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has said he has a mandate to declare independence for the north-eastern Spanish region but is prepared to wait "a few weeks" in order to facilitate a dialogue.

Mr Puigdemont told the Catalan parliament a landslide victory in the disputed October 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.

His 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, Mr Puigdemont was applauded by standing separatist lawmakers.


Photo credit: PA

The opposition leader in Catalonia's parliament said Mr Puigdemont's statement that he has a mandate to declare independence from Spain "is a coup" and has no support in Europe.

Ines Arrimadas of the Ciudadanos (Citizens) party said the majority of Catalans feel they are Catalans, Spanish and European, and that they will not let regional officials "break their hearts".