Home News Spanish socialists win Catalonia vote, amnesty for separatists

Spanish socialists win Catalonia vote, amnesty for separatists


Spain’s ruling Socialist Party won a regional election in Catalonia on Sunday in an election widely seen as a litmus test for Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s polarizing amnesty measure against separatists.

The Socialists are celebrating what they claim is a major victory, even though they did not gain enough seats to govern themselves. They are likely to face weeks of negotiations and possibly new elections if they fail to reach a deal. But for the first time in more than a decade, they may be able to form a local government led by an anti-independence party.

Addressing supporters at the Socialist Party headquarters in Barcelona late on Sunday night, party leader Salvador Illa declared: “For the first time in 45 years, we have won an election in Catalonia, both in terms of seats and votes. Catalonia The Ronians decided to start a new era.”

Despite his promises to improve social services, education and drought management, Illa still needs 68 of the 135 seats in Catalonia’s parliament to form a government. His party received just 42 votes on Sunday, meaning he will have to seek the support of the pro-independence Catalan Republican Left party and the left-wing Commons party.

“Winning does not mean governing,” Toni Roden, a political science professor at Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University, said before the results were announced. He said that although Esquerra supported Sanchez in the Spanish parliament, Catalonia’s negotiations Doesn’t mean success. Expected to be easy.

The main rival of the Socialist Party is the pro-independence Junts per Catalunya, led by Carles Puigdemont, who lives in exile in France. Junts is a close second but performs poorly with 35 seats and is unable to form a government with other pro-independence parties.

Esquerra leader Pere Aragonès, the outgoing Catalan government president, called early elections after failing to gain enough support to pass a regional budget. His party now faces a reckoning after winning just 20 seats on Sunday.

On Sunday night, Aragonés blamed Esquerra’s poor results on the party’s policy of striking a deal with the Socialists, which he said “citizens did not take seriously”. From now on, he said, “Esquerra will be the opposition.”

Professor Rodon said it was a clear sign that he was unwilling to negotiate with Mr Illa and that without Esquerra’s support Catalonia might “consider new elections in October”.

Ignacio Lago, a political science professor at Pompeo Fabra University, said that even if no deal is reached and new elections are needed, “for the first time in many years, pro-independence parties do not have a majority.”

The issue of amnesty for separatists has been divisive for years.

When he first took power in 2019, Sanchez said he would not abandon pending legal action against Puigdemont or others accused of separatist activities.

But Sanchez changed his stance after Spain’s election last July, when his only chance of re-election was to meet the demands of Puigdemont’s party, which overnight won seven parliamentary seats and became kingmaker. Sánchez, known as a political survivor, struck an amnesty deal with Jutes, saying it was the best way for peaceful coexistence in Catalonia.

The amnesty proposal is extremely unpopular in Spain.Two rival political parties organized a huge demonstration Cities across the country opposed the deal in November, while other protests not officially supported by the parties broke out for several nights outside the socialist headquarters in Madrid.

At one point, a legendary statue of Sanchez, with a long Pinocchio-like nose, was beaten to pieces by a mob.

The amnesty bill stalled in Spain’s lower house of parliament after being approved by the Senate in March. Legal challenges could also still delay the measure.

Isabel Díaz Ayuso, head of Madrid’s regional government and a member of the center-right Popular Party, called the amnesty “the most corrupt law in our democracy.”

According to a report published by the Royal Institute of Elcano, a Madrid-based international affairs research organization, support for Catalan independence historically has not exceeded 20%. That changed in 2010, when the eurozone financial crisis hit and EU austerity measures imposed on Spain encouraged Catalonia’s “populist message of fiscal rebellion,” the report said.The British government decided in 2012 to allow independence referendum Scotland supports Spanish separatists.

Tensions in Catalonia came to a head in 2017, when Puigdemont’s separatist government ignored Spanish courts and went ahead with an illegal independence referendum. A Declaration of Independence Subsequently, the Spanish government cracked down on the separatists. Disband the Catalan government and exercise direct control.nine political leaders imprisoned Puigdemont fled to France and narrowly escaped capture.

Successive Spanish leaders, including Sanchez during his first term, have tried and failed to extradite Puigdemont.

In 2021, Mr. Sánchez’s second-term government took a more conciliatory approach toward Mr. Puigdemont’s allies still in Spain, Pardoned nine people in prison.

Cristina Monge, professor of political science and sociology at the University of Zaragoza, said the key question today is whether the “spirit” of the Catalan independence movement still exists.

Catalonia’s Socialist Party’s positive election results on Sunday suggested the prime minister’s high-risk gamble in approving an amnesty has paid off, easing separatist tensions in the region and helping normalize relations between Spain and Catalonia.

“We have turned a new leaf in the independence movement in 2017,” Professor Lago said.

A study conducted by the Local Government Opinion Research Center shows that the proportion of Catalans in favor of remaining in Spain is rising (51.1% in February compared to 44.1% in March 2019).

Professor Rowden says independence is no longer a ‘top priority for many voters’

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