Madrid, Oct 28 (EFE).- Spain’s interim prime minister Pedro Sánchez on Saturday said pardoning Catalan separatists was the only way for his Socialist Party (PSOE) to secure a majority to form a government and move the country forward.
Sánchez was addressing PSOE members about his ongoing coalition talks with regional parties, including pro-independence groups from Catalonia.
“In the name of Spain, in the interest of Spain, in defense of coexistence among Spaniards, I defend today the amnesty in Catalonia for the events of the past decade,” the Socialist Party leader told the PSOE federal committee.
Sánchez’s plan to form a coalition government with support from pro-independence forces has been highly controversial.
Junts per Catalunya leader Carles Puigdemont, the former Catalonia regional president who lives in exile in Brussels, has said he will only consider backing the interim prime minister if charges against him and other leaders of the Catalan independence movement are lifted.
Sánchez’s potential amnesty for the Catalan leaders who held an unsanctioned independence referendum in 2017 has generated widespread controversy in Spain.
When King Felipe VI nominated Sánchez to form a government earlier this month, the PM called for “generosity”, “commitment”, “leadership” and “policy” to solve the Catalonia issue and break the political deadlock in the country.
The interim PM also defended the “difficult” decision he took over the summer when he pardoned nine separatist leaders who were convicted for declaring Catalonia’s independence in 2017, insisting that “it was right” and was taken for the sake of the country’s best interests.
The Socialists this week secured the support of the left-wing alliance Sumar, led by the deputy prime minister and acting Minister of Labor, Yolanda Diaz. EFE