(File) A National Police agent armed with a machine gun remains stationed at the Puerta de los Leones in the Congress of Deputies in Madrid on October 31, 2023. EFE/ Mariscal

Sánchez to be inaugurated amid political pressure over amnesty

Madrid, Nov 14 (EFE).- Twenty-four hours before Pedro Sánchez’s inauguration debate, the pressure against the amnesty law for Catalan independentists in Spain is not abating, both from the political opposition and from the streets.

The demonstrations, which have been constant throughout the last week, are expected to approach the Congress on Wednesday, amid increased security around the legislative to avoid incidents.

Sánchez, the socialist leader, received the support of the left, nationalist and independence parties for his investiture, adding a total of 179 deputies of the 350 that the lower house has.

The numbers promise a fierce debate on Tuesday, sponsored by the conservative Popular Party (PP) and the far-right Vox, the two groups that will vote against.

Sánchez’s inauguration comes after weeks of intense negotiations with different parties, but the support of Catalan independentists was key, which they conditioned on an amnesty law for those involved in the 2017 secession process.

The pact sparked strong opposition from right-wing parties and other sectors of society, such as judges and businesses.

Inauguration debate

The debate will begin on Tuesday with the speech of the candidate for re-election as president of the government, Pedro Sánchez, who will have no time limit to present his program for the next four years.

Since amnesty will be an issue during the debate, he will have the opportunity to explain his arguments in favor of it.

In the afternoon, the parties will speak, from the largest to the smallest representation, starting with the leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, whose party won the July elections with 137 seats, but did not receive the necessary support to form government.

Then comes Sánchez’s party, the PSOE, which has 121 seats but managed to gather the support of 179 deputies.

Third is the leader of Vox, Santiago Abascal, who has been the most outspoken in his criticism of the Socialists, and fourth is the leader of Sumar, Yolanda Díaz, whose party has signed a government agreement with the Socialists.

The debate will continue with the independence and nationalist groups from different regions, and will be closed by the Socialist Party before the vote.

If, as expected, the candidate obtains 179 votes in favor, he will be inaugurated in the first vote, obtaining an absolute majority. If not, a second vote would be held 48 hours later, in which he would need more votes in favor than against.

Political pressure

The investiture debate is taking place in the midst of great political pressure.

The PP is using all its resources, from massive demonstrations to actions in Congress and the Senate, to oppose the amnesty, which it describes as a “humiliation” for Spain.

The party will oppose in the Congress Chamber the admission for processing of the amnesty bill presented Monday by the PSOE.

Although the center-right party does not have a sufficient majority in Congress, it does in the Senate, where it reformed regulations to delay the approval of this amnesty law.

Vox’s response was to file a complaint on Tuesday with the Supreme Court against Pedro Sánchez and the leader of the Catalan independentist party Junts, Carles Puigdemont, for four crimes arising from their agreement on the amnesty law and the investiture pact.

In the face of initiatives such as Vox’s that call on the judiciary to suspend the investiture, government spokeswoman Isabel Rodríguez declared that “those who question Sánchez’s investiture are questioning democracy.”

Tension in the streets

For eleven days there have been demonstrations in front of the PSOE headquarters in Madrid, most of which have ended in violence by ultra groups.

With the expectation that they will move towards Congress on Wednesday, the Ministry of the Interior has arranged a security device in the surroundings of more than 1,600 agents, sources from the Ministry of the Interior told EFE.