The possibility of the Government granting pardon to the leaders of the procés independence has reopened old tensions within the PSOE. Since Monday, President Sánchez and his ministers have clearly opened the door to granting the grace measure – despite contrary reports from the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor’s Office – and critical voices have multiplied in recent hours.
Of the two former socialist presidents, there is one in favor and one against. This Wednesday, in an interview on Antena 3, Felipe Gonzalez he said it is against granting forgiveness “under these conditions.” ZapateroOn the other hand, he was in favor this Thursday because the decision can, in his opinion, “significantly help” so that “things are better” between Catalonia and the rest of Spain.
Zapatero argued that the pardon could serve so that “the independence movement loses strength and the dialogue recovers “He added that decisions such as the law of marriage between people of the same gender or the negotiation with ETA were also “difficult”, and he demanded support from the entire PSOE for Sánchez’s decision: “For me, my colleagues supported me in difficult moments”, stressed.
His appeal, however, did not stop criticism from some socialist barons, who they fear to pay the bill for pardons when they face the polls in the next regional elections. The Castilian-Manchego president, Emiliano García-Page, for example, wondered “in what position is the one who makes the decision” to pardon whoever promises to “reoffend.”
García-Page added that the pardons would be “one of the great mistakes of democracy” and a “huge misfortune”. In a similar vein, Guillermo Fernández Vara from Extremadura expressed himself on Wednesday, for whom it is “evident” that the pardon should not take place. Vara and Page are the two socialist presidents who rule with an absolute majority.
The Government and the leadership of the PSOE insist
The Government, however, keeps the door open to the measure of grace. The spokeswoman for the Executive, María Jesús Montero, said that it is time to “turn the page” in relation to Catalonia and that if the situation is bad, it’s Rajoy’s fault, under whose government the illegal vote of October 1, 2017 took place, independence was proclaimed and former President Puigdemont fled to Belgium.
Minister Ábalos, who is also Secretary of Organization of the PSOE, pointed out for his part that the reports of the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor’s Office “do not condition the power” of the Executive to grant pardons, he pointed out that “the time has come to face problems with boldness and courage” and said, asked by the critical voices of some socialists, that “things need to be explained.”
The next step to grant pardons is for the Ministry of Justice to submit a proposal to the Council of Ministers. The head of this portfolio, Juan Carlos Campo, said this Thursday that the pardon “does not have to scare us” and that “less noise” should be made on this issue. His colleague Isabel Celaá pointed out that pardons are the way to “avoid the rupture” of Catalonia.
The most forceful was the mayor of Valladolid and spokesman for the federal Executive of the PSOE, Óscar Puente, who described the pardon as “convenient, timely and necessary” to “rebuild coexistence” with “long lights”. “The decision does not have to be taken based on surveys, but based on convictions,” said the leader of the PSC in the Parliament of Catalonia, Salvador Illa.
Even the cabinet director of the Presidency of the Government, Iván Redondo, joined the chorus of voices in favor of the grace measure, assuring, during an appearance in Congress that “sometimes there is no easy solution” but that ” there is always a way in life “and that” to fix what has happened in the last decade “in relation to Catalonia “it will take courageous leadership”.
The PP asks for a full monographic
The opposition, on the other hand, insists on charging against the Executive for opening the door to pardon. The leader of the PP, Pablo Casado, pointed out that what President Sánchez said is “very serious” and that you will be crossing a “red line” and granting yourself a “self-indulgence” if he grants the pardon to the leaders of the procés after the “blow” that, in his opinion, has supposed the contrary report of the Supreme Court.
For all this, Casado requested a full monographic in Congress for Sánchez to explain if he will approve the measure, in which the popular see an attempt by the president to “remain in power.” “We will not allow this outrage against the Constitution, Justice and the Nation,” said the leader of the PP, who will also present motions on this matter to force voting in all town halls.
Vox parliamentary spokeswoman, Macarena Olona, said for her part that Vox. appeal the hypothetical pardon to the Supreme Court and present a criminal complaint against all the ministers “to purge” possible “criminal liability”. Cs, finally, urged the socialist barons to be “brave” and fight against pardons within the PSOE.
Old tensions in the PSOE
The relationship with the independentistas has always been a thorny issue in the PSOE. After the 2015 general elections, for example, the Socialist Federal Committee passed a resolution where negotiations and pacts were rejected with formations that will support the independence of Catalonia.
Among the arguments of Sánchez to reject in the past pacts with Podemos was also the position of the morados on the Catalan question, and the president himself promised, in 2019, that “compliance with the sentence implies compliance”, because “no one is above the law”. That compliance, in the opinion of today’s Vice President Carmen Calvo, should “be complete.”