In Catalonia, a Declaration of Independence (Sort of)

“Let’s see if I’ve understood this well,” Mr. Iceta told Mr. Puigdemont during the parliamentary session. “You’re taking on a mandate that I’m questioning and at the same time you’re proposing to suspend a declaration that hasn’t been made.”

Mr. Iceta also poured cold water on the idea that an illegal referendum approved by two-fifths of the Catalan electorate gave Mr. Puigdemont the right to declare independence in the name of the Catalan people. “A minority cannot impose itself on a majority,” Mr. Iceta said.

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A crowd gathered Tuesday to listen to the speech outside of the Catalan Parliament building.

Credit
Samuel Aranda for The New York Times

To add to the confusion, Mr. Puigdemont and other separatist lawmakers later signed a document proclaiming Catalan independence — a signing that separatist lawmakers argued should not be seen as more than an opportunity to negotiate over independence with Madrid.

In his speech, Mr. Puigdemont appeared to be trying to placate several factions within his unwieldy alliance of separatist lawmakers, who control a majority of the seats in the Catalan Parliament after winning 48 percent of the votes in 2015.

As the speech ended, Mr. Puigdemont did not receive any applause from the far-left secessionist lawmakers whose support has been crucial to keep the independence movement on course. Though disappointed, those hard-line allies did not threaten to leave his alliance. The government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain had yet to offer an official response by late Tuesday.

“We’ve shown today that we’re willing to postpone any jump into the void,” said Lluís Corominas, a lawmaker from Mr. Puigdemont’s nationalist party. “Those who voted for independence also needed to understand that certain conditions must be in place for…

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