Spain’s main right-wing opposition party, Partido Popular, said it would consider a pardon for former Catalan president and separatist leader Carles Puigdemont if he agrees to be tried, serves his sentence, renounces calling a referendum on self-determination and abandons plans to declare the region’s “independence”.
The party’s leader, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, said a pardon could be on the cards, during a speech a rally ahead of the regional elections in Galicia, to be held on 18 February.
As Feijóo explained, the “minimum conditions for (the PP not to oppose) the amnesty (law), the pardons (for separatist leaders) or any other issue” are that there is no impunity and that the Catalan separatist movement renounces the region’s unilateral declaration of independence, the illegitimate referendum (of 2017) and “the theft of the basic principles that govern the rule of law”.
But the stability of the Spanish government led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez (PSOE/S&D), which governs alongside the left-wing Sumar platform, relies on Puigdemont’s JxCat, with Sánchez’s Socialists have signed a pact for the four-year legislature, including the approval of the national budget, a key element for implementing the progressive executive’s social policies.
In recent weeks, however, relations between the PSOE and JxCat have deteriorated over demands by Puigdemont’s party and its left-wing separatist rival, the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), that the controversial future amnesty law should provide maximum legal cover for those responsible for separatist actions between 2012 and 2023, including hypothetical offences of ‘terrorism’, a vague concept currently being disputed between the government and the opposition.
A “secret” quid pro quo between Puigdemont and Feijóo
Both the PP and the far-right VOX party, the third largest force in parliament, consider the future amnesty law, which is currently being debated in parliament, unconstitutional.
In addition to the mass demonstrations – some of them violent – that have taken place since last September to reject the grace period, both the PP and Vox are planning to appeal to the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and even the EU Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling against the law.
The PP won the snap general election on 23 July, although it fell short of the needed majority to govern, after which Sánchez, whose party came second in the election, used his chance at forming a government for which he negotiated with Catalan separatist forces JxCat and ERC (currently in the regional government), and with the pro-independence Basque parties PNV and EH-Bildu.
(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.Euractiv.es)
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