The president of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo (C-L), accompanied by the mayor of Valencia, María José Catalá (L), by the president of the Valencian Community, Carlos Mazón (C-R), and by the general secretary of the PP, Cuca Gamarra (R), take part in a rally against the proposed amnesty for the leaders of the 2017 referendum in Catalonia, in Valencia, Spain, 5 November 2023. EFE/ Juan Carlos Cárdenas

PP, Vox rail against Sánchez’s amnesty plans for Catalan separatists to form coalition

Madrid, Nov 6 (EFE).- Spain interim prime minister and leader of the Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) Pedro Sánchez’s plans to pardon Catalan separatists as part of his bid to form a coalition government has triggered intense criticism from the country’s right-wing parties.

Demonstrators hold a sign reading “Amnesty, No!” during a protest against the PSOE-led government in Madrid, Spain, 3 November 2023. EFE/ Fernando Alvarado

The leader of the conservative People’s Party (PP), Alberto Núñez Feijóo, on Monday announced protests for Nov. 12 in town squares in every Spanish provincial capital to denounce Sánchez’s plans, while the head of the far-right Vox, Santiago Abascal, said the party would file a complaint to the Supreme Court if the amnesty law is approved on the grounds that it is “flagrantly unconstitutional”.

Hundreds of thousands of people have turned out against the proposed amnesty at rallies in recent months.

King Felipe VI appointed Sánchez to form a government last month, after Feijóo – whose PP had narrowly beaten PSOE in a July snap election – had failed in his attempts to garner enough support for a majority.

A man holds a sign reading “Coup leaders to prison!” during a protest against the PSOE-led government in Madrid, Spain, 3 November 2023. EFE/ Fernando Alvarado

Last week, Sánchez received the backing of PSOE members to form a coalition with the left-wing Sumar and try to attract support from other regional political parties – including pro-independence groups in Catalonia and the Basque Country – to secure a governing majority.

Ahead of the vote, Sánchez had said an amnesty was the only way for the PSOE to govern and for the country to move forward.

“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 on Oct. 28.

Spain’s King Felipe VI (L) and acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (R) following the ceremony where Princess Leonor swore allegiance to the Spanish Constitution, at the Spanish Lower House, in Madrid, Spain 31 October 2023. EFE/ Sergio Pérez

The interim prime minister has already agreed a deal with separatists Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia).

Many leading Catalan politicians, including former regional president and Junts per Catalunya leader Carles Puigdemont, who lives in exile in Belgium, were charged with sedition for holding an independence referendum in 2017. Nine were pardoned in 2019 and released from prison.

Puigdemont has said he will only consider backing the interim prime minister if the charges against him and dozens of others are lifted.

Catalan former President and Member of the European Parliament, Carles Puigdemont (C), meets with members of Catalan independentist party JxCat Jordi Turull (2R) and Laura Borras (3L), among others, in Brussels, Belgium, 02 November 2023. EFE/ Antonio Suarez BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE

Talks between representatives of PSOE and Junts to finalize an agreement for a coalition government were ongoing in Brussels, although the negotiators who EFE spoke to refused to say whether they expected a deal to be struck on Monday. EFE