Spain | Scathing setback for Sánchez on the amnesty of Catalan separatists

(Madrid) Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez suffered a scathing setback in Parliament on Tuesday with the rejection of the amnesty bill for Catalan separatists, a new illustration of the extreme fragility of his government, renewed only two months ago and half.

Paradoxically, it was the party of the independentist Carles Puigdemont, Junts per Catalunya, which voted against this highly controversial bill, considering that it did not guarantee the application of this amnesty to its leader, the main figure of the attempted secession of Catalonia in 2017.

This rejection at first reading does not mean the abandonment of the text, which will have to return to the parliamentary committee where it can be modified. But it illustrates the permanent pressure to which Junts subjects the executive, deprived of a majority without the support of its seven deputies.

” Calvary ”

“The humiliation is constant, every day (…), every vote is an ordeal,” mocked the leader of the right-wing opposition, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, who again mobilized 45,000 supporters in the center of Madrid on Sunday against this amnesty, which deeply divides Spanish society.

Unpredictable ally, Junts demanded on Tuesday morning the vote by Mr. Sánchez’s socialists on amendments intended to counter the judicial offensive by two magistrates seeking to prevent the application of this measure to Carles Puigdemont.


Carles Puigdemont

The socialists having refused, Junts voted against the bill which received only 171 votes in favor while the required majority was 176 votes out of 350.

The amnesty “must be total (…) and leave no one on the side of the road, no one,” warned the head of Junts deputies, Miriam Nogueras, before the vote.

This amnesty bill was a condition demanded by the Catalan separatists in exchange for their essential support for the mid-November reappointment of Mr. Sánchez for a new mandate.

If Parliament ultimately adopts it, this text should make it possible to stop legal proceedings against hundreds of separatist activists and leaders for their involvement in the secession attempt, including Mr. Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium there is over six years old in order to escape these prosecutions.

“Terrorism” and “betrayal”

Junts specifically demanded that the text guarantee the application of this amnesty to people accused of “terrorism”, without possible exception, or of “treason”, which is not the case in the current project, Mr. Puigdemont being threatened with an indictment for such offenses by two magistrates.

These two judges were accused by the left of having clear political ulterior motives for having precisely announced on Monday, on the eve of the vote, the extension of their investigation for an additional six months.

The first of these investigations concerns the mysterious organization “Democratic Tsunami”, behind the blockade of Barcelona airport in October 2019 to protest against the sentencing of independence leaders to prison.

In this case, a magistrate from the Madrid high court of the National Court considers that Mr. Puigdemont, suspected of having led this organization in the shadows, could be accused of “terrorism”.

Last week, the Socialists had already been forced to accept an amendment so that amnesty would also benefit people accused of “terrorism” but on condition that the alleged acts do not constitute “a serious violation of human rights”. .

Determined to circumvent this amendment, this judge highlighted, only two days later in his investigation, the injuries of a police officer in 2019, and therefore a serious violation of his rights.

In a second case, a Barcelona magistrate suspecting Carles Puigdemont of having sought to obtain the Kremlin’s support for a possible independence of Catalonia assured to have “data” confirming the “close personal relations” between relatives of the separatist and people occupying “diplomatic functions or (having) links with the Russian secret services” at the time. Which could, in this case, lead to prosecution for “treason”.


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