Spain’s acting Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, declared his support for a controversial amnesty aimed at individuals involved in Catalonia’s 2017 independence bid.
He made this announcement during a meeting of the Socialist Party’s Federal Committee in Madrid, emphasizing his commitment to preserving unity among Spaniards and promoting coexistence.
Sanchez’s endorsement of the amnesty received an enthusiastic response, with attendees offering applause and a standing ovation.
This move is strategically significant as he seeks to build a coalition government after a recent inconclusive election.
While he has already secured a coalition deal with the left-wing Sumar, the 31 lower-house lawmakers from that party alone are insufficient to secure the premiership.
To achieve his political goals, Sanchez must secure the support of Catalan separatist parties, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) and Junts.
These parties have insisted on the enactment of an amnesty law that could potentially encompass over 1,400 individuals connected to the failed independence attempt.
Furthermore, they have made it clear that their support hinges on the promise of another independence referendum.
Sanchez articulated the need to overcome past divisions and heal societal fractures to advance the country. He pointed out that 80% of Catalans support an agreement on this issue, indicating a broad base of public support for his stance.
However, the proposal for amnesty has triggered a political storm in Spain.
Opponents, primarily conservative in nature, have organized large protests, accusing Sanchez of compromising the rule of law for his political gain. A September poll indicated that 70% of respondents, including 59% of socialist supporters, opposed the idea of amnesty.
In summary, Pedro Sanchez’s endorsement of an amnesty for those connected to Catalonia’s 2017 independence bid is a pivotal step in his pursuit of a coalition government.
While met with applause among his supporters, it has also sparked controversy and protests, revealing a stark division in public opinion regarding this contentious issue.
Sanchez’s success in securing the backing of Catalan separatist parties will be instrumental in determining the future course of Spanish politics.