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Belgium-based Catalan exile organization the Council for the Republic has pledged to present "a strategic proposal to culminate the independence process." This was announced today after the Council met at its base, the House of the Republic in Waterloo.

After the first in-person meeting of the executive for the organization formally launched in late 2018, Council member and exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont declared that "the time has come to formulate what the effective continuation of the October 1st referendum should be". "We understand that this is a responsibility that we can assume not from a partisan or sectoral position, but from a space of maximum transversality," said the exiled president.

Puigdemont has denied that this strategy means they are starting from scratch; he argues that they intend to give continuity to the 1st October result and want it to be a "plan for this stage of the independence process." At the moment, the Council for the Republic has not set deadlines for presenting this new strategy and has defended its "legitimacy" to formulate this "proposal to the whole of Catalan society."

Also taking part in this Saturday's meeting was Poble Lliure, a group within the left-wing pro-independence CUP party, which has expressed its willingness to adhere to the body and has asked its members to sign up to it.

Poble Lliure argues that in April 2018 it was already demanding the creation of a Council for the Republic and believes that this body can contribute to the deployment of the Catalan Republic. It hopes that the Council will help to solidify international support for the Republic. However, Poble Lliure has said that over 12-month-period it will observe the evolution of the body, leaving the "door open" to dissociate itself if it observes "a lack of determination" to carry out the republican project.

The Council meeting almost coincided with the visit of Catalan opposition leader Inés Arrimadas to Waterloo, an occurrence that Carles Puigdemont describes as a "media show". The president in exile affirmed that, if Arrimadas wanted, he would receive her with "great interest and respect" to "debate" on the situation in Catalonia. "If she's coming more than 1,300 kilometres, she should come 10 metres further and enter through the door," Puigdemont told the media after the first meeting of the Council for the Republic.

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