Spain to vote on amnesty law for Catalan separatists

World 17:35 30.01.2024

Spanish MPs are preparing to vote on the deeply divisive amnesty law for Catalan separatists that enabled the prime minister Pedro Sánchez’s socialist-led coalition government to secure a second term in office after last year’s inconclusive general election. Ednews reports referring to The Guardian.

The draft law covers about 400 people involved in the symbolic, consultative and unilateral independence referendum of November 2014 and the poll that came three years later. It was followed by a unilateral declaration of regional independence that plunged Spain into its worst political crisis for four decades.Its most high-profile beneficiary would be the former Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium to avoid arrest over his role in masterminding the illegal push to secede from Spain in 2017. Although the conservative People’s party (PP) narrowly defeated Sánchez’s Spanish Socialist Workers’ party (PSOE) in last July’s election, it proved unable to form a government, even with the backing of the far-right Vox party and other, smaller groupings.

Sánchez was returned to office in an investiture debate last November after securing the backing of the two main Catalan pro-independence parties – Puigdemont’s centre-right Junts party and the more moderate Catalan Republic Left (ERC) – in return for promising the amnesty law.

The move has proved unpopular with many Spaniards. A poll in mid-September showed that 70% of voters, including 59% of the people who voted for the PSOE in July, opposed the measure. The issue has also brought hundreds of thousands of people out on to the streets to protest in recent months. On Sunday, about 45,000 demonstrators gathered in Madrid to voice their anger at the draft law.

While Sánchez argues that the amnesty – which he previously opposed – is needed to help Spain move on from the confrontations of the past, his opponents have accused him of hypocrisy, cynical manoeuvring and putting his own political survival before the country’s interests.

 

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