The possible approval of an amnesty law for those involved in the illegal 2017 Catalan referendum of independence, required by Catalan nationalist parties in exchange for the support Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez needs to form a government, has created a divide within the Spanish socialist party. Read more.
Former socialist prime minister Felipe González and his former vice-president Alfonso Guerra have harshly criticised Sánchez for the negotiations his party is conducting with Catalan separatist formations, Euractiv’s partner EFE reported.
“We cannot allow ourselves to be blackmailed by anyone, even less from minorities in extinction”, González said on Wednesday during a book presentation.
Guerra called for an amnesty not to be granted to those involved in the 2017 secessionist attempt because “it would falsify history” by presenting Spain’s government at the time as “felons” who attacked freedom, he said.
Both Guerra and González, considered the “old guard” of PSOE as opposed to the “new PSOE”, were also highly critical of the demand for a referendum on self-determination for Catalonia, one of the many red lines set out by Catalan pro-independence forces to reinstate Sánchez as prime minister.
Another example of growing discontent in the party’s ranks is the president of the Castilla La Mancha region, Emiliano García-Page, who recently made his position clear: “What we said to the voters on 23 July (the day of the snap general election) is that amnesty does not fit in the Constitution”.
“If a man sees injustice (because of a possible amnesty law), he should say so out loud”, Guerra assured while criticising Sánchez, who, he pointed out, constantly changes his mind and “one day defends one thing and another (day), another”.
Guerra recalled that the socialist candidate changed his position on several occasions on politically sensitive dossiers such as granting pardons to those involved in the 2017 Catalan referendum or the coalition pact he forged with Unidas Podemos (United We Can/EU Left).
An amnesty “makes the crime disappear, erases the crime, it does not pardon the offender”, González stated. He also stressed that such a grace measure, like a hypothetical referendum on self-determination, has no place in Spain’s 1978 Constitution.
Meanwhile, Sánchez assures that any dialogue with the Catalan separatist forces – Junts Per Catalunya and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya – will always take place within the framework of the Constitution.
Sánchez needs the seven votes of JxCat to govern again and renew the parliamentary support that ERC gave him in the last legislature to continue another four years in power, as well as the occasional support of other nationalist parties, among them Basque formations PNV and EH Bildu.
(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.Euractiv.es)
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