The reforms of the crimes of sedition and embezzlement will be voted on separately. This Thursday, as soon as the plenary session of the General State Budgets for 2023 ends, PSOE and United We Can propose to eliminate the crime of sedition from the Penal Code and replace it with one of aggravated public disorder.
ERC, taking advantage of the situation, pressured to try to also reduce the crime of embezzlement, but the Government has clipped its wings with a riot.
Although the sedition reform will directly benefit those accused of processthe Executive hides behind the fact that it must adapt to European legislation, which calls for lesser penalties.
According to government calculations, this change will have a vast majority in Congress –close to 180 votes–, but the arithmetic could collapse if a downward reform of the crime of embezzlement were included.
At first, ERC slipped that it would include it in its amendments and Pedro Sánchez was not averse. The position that the Government has defended in public is that they would study this amendment as they study any other amendment. That is to say, they did not close the door to support her.
[De 3 a 5 años de cárcel y hasta 8 de inhabilitación: así es la reforma de la sedición de Sánchez]
However, opinion has been changing in recent days to the point that no one in the Council of Ministers is considering the proposal. To begin with, because Unidas Podemos would not approve it and, without them, the numbers do not come out no matter how hard you try. “It is no longer on the table,” sources from the Executive acknowledge to EL ESPAÑOL.
Now, given the changes, from ERC they consider that it was not a good idea to air it. The hypothetical reduction of embezzlement, in the eyes of the Republican group, would be, together with sedition, an oxygen canister for the leaders of the process, convicted and disqualified precisely for these two crimes. Now, barely a week later, among the independentistas they are aware that it was a chimera.
The same government sources assure that “in no case” will support a penal reform made ad hoc, as suggested by its partners. The position of the Executive forces to unlink the two crimes.
The idea of the Republicans, who are playing this game against the clock, is to present the bill to eliminate sedition this Thursday, after the plenary session of the Congress of Deputies, and approve it. Before the end of the year. The partial amendments – where ERC would add the embezzlement reform – will not be studied until the second week of December, so time is pressing.
[Junqueras ante la ejecutiva de ERC tras pactar la sedición: “Bajará el precio al volver a intentarlo”]
Thus, given the lack of support not only within the Government but also among regular partners, the Republicans are already ruling out combining the two crimes, and look to January as a possible horizon to amend the embezzlement… if they manage to do so.
The socialist part of the Government has been secretly negotiating since July to remove the court from process pro-independence, which translates into reductions in sentences and changes in language in certain crimes.
The priority was always the same, sedition, but the door was always left open to tweak embezzlement to differentiate between those who profit and those who don’t as a result of those acts. The latter is the case of the convicted independence leaders.
The idea, in this case, is to reverse the reform that the PP made in 2015 and that later served to condemn oriol junqueras and other pro-independence leaders for embezzlement of public funds during the trial of the process; the criminal type, it is also the same for which the former Andalusian president was tried Jose Antonio Grinan. The negotiation was carried out by the Socialist Government, although it was periodically informing Vice President Yolanda Díaz of the progress.
The purple voices in the Executive, say the same sources, conveyed to their partners that the embezzlement reform would mean a even greater political attrition for a Government that has made a banner of the fight against corruption. After all, that was the reason that Pedro Sánchez used to present the motion of censure that promoted Moncloa.
In addition, the argument that sedition is reformed to equate it with the European regulation would be discredited.
In fact, in the meticulous drafts prepared in 2021 by the then Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Field, the change in the crime of sedition was addressed, with some points now included by Moncloa, but no proposal was included to modify the embezzlement. The reform had been frozen since the 2020 investiture pacts, when Vice President Carmen Calvo asked to review them for the first time.
Follow the topics that interest you