“We have a political agreement, including an amnesty law,” Santos Cerdán, chief negotiator of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), said before noon on Thursday, according to El País newspaper. The Socialists negotiated the agreement with the Catalan party Junts (Together for Catalonia).
“It is an agreement that gives us a historic opportunity to solve the problem (Catalonia, editor’s note)which can only be resolved through politics,” Cerdán mentioned according to The Guardian newspaper.
The winner of the election failed. The King of Spain again proposed Sánchez as Prime Minister
The agreement paves the way for the PSOE to enter government even though the Socialists finished second behind the right-wing People’s Party (PP, 33.1 percent) in the July election with 31.7 percent of the vote. However, the victorious People’s Party failed in their attempt to form a government in September, as they were unable to secure a majority among the deputies.
Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez should win a majority thanks to the far-left Sumar grouping (12 percent), with which he has already signed a memorandum of cooperation, and the support of small regional parties, including the Catalan ones.
The right is rioting
The ongoing negotiations between the PSOE and the Catalan Junts party, which has the decisive eight votes in the new parliament, have stirred up great passions in Spain in recent weeks, and it can be assumed that the coming days will not be calm either.
The dispute is fueled by the PSOE’s commitment to present an amnesty bill in parliament that would pardon jailed or accused Catalan politicians involved in the organization of the Catalan independence referendum in 2017. The vote at the time plunged Spain into a major political crisis, and the Spanish Constitutional Court later declared the referendum unconstitutional.
It is amnesty that the Catalan parties condition their support for Sánchez.
The most vocal opposition to the courtship of the PSOE and the separatists is the far-right party Vox (it won 15.1 percent in the elections), which Sánchez et al. accuses of treason and selling out Spanish national interests. Even the victorious People’s Party is strongly opposed, and they are now in danger of remaining in the opposition despite the election victory.
The fate of Carles Puigdemont, the main figure in Catalan independence efforts, remains a question. Puigdemont has been hiding from Spanish justice in Belgium for several years (which is why some negotiations to support the Sánchez government took place in Brussels), and depending on the exact wording of the amnesty law, it is possible that he could return to Spain in the near future.