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Dissident independent Catalans push to become kingmakers of Spain's new government

Wednesday, September 6th 2023 - 10:35 UTC
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Puigdemont said that any talks about his support in the formation of a new Spanish government were dependent on the “abandonment of judicial proceedings”. Photo: PABLO GARRIGOS / EFE Puigdemont said that any talks about his support in the formation of a new Spanish government were dependent on the “abandonment of judicial proceedings”. Photo: PABLO GARRIGOS / EFE

The former president of the Catalonian government, Carles Puigdemont on Tuesday demanded the “complete abandonment of judicial proceedings” against any members of the Catalan separatist movement. Speaking to journalists, Puigdemont said that any talks about his support in the formation of a new Spanish government were dependent on this condition.

Soon after Puigdemont's comments, an ally of acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said his government was “a world away from these positions.”

In the aftermath of Spain's parliamentary elections in July, no obvious coalitions can be formed, either by right- or left-leaning parties with natural alliances. Many believe a re-run of the vote will prove the only solution.

But mathematically, Puigdemont's Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) party's support could tip the scales in favor of either of the two largest parties.

But Puigdemont and several party members face various charges following the independence referendum held in Catalonia under his presidency in 2017. The vote was declared illegal by Madrid but went ahead. Puigdemont has been living in exile in Brussels ever since to avoid prosecution.

The opposition conservative Popular Party (PP) narrowly won the election but is expected to fail in its bid to form a government. It has also ruled out any concessions for Catalan separatists in exchange for cooperation.

Sanchez's ruling Socialists (PSOE) would be next in line to try if the PP fails — and the party has made overtures to Catalan parties. It would need support from both Catalan groups in parliament to pass an investiture vote and subsequently form a government.

In addition to the amnesty, Puigdemont also demanded “respect for the democratic legitimacy of separatism.”

“None of these preconditions are contrary to the Constitution and therefore to any European treaty... they are preconditions that must be met before the legal deadline runs out to avoid new elections,” he said.

Reacting to Puigdemont's demands, spokesperson Isabel Rodriguez from Sanchez's party said the government was “a world away from these positions.”

However, Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz, who leads the more left-wing Sumar movement as part of Sanchez's coalition, met Puigdemont on Monday. She said in a communiqué that they had agreed to “explore all democratic solutions to defuse the political conflict.”

Spain's conservative and far-right political forces have criticized that meeting, as well as Puigdemont's demands.

PP leader Alberto Fernández Feijoo meanwhile questioned the notion that Puigdemont should determine who would head the next Spanish government. He said this would be undemocratic and that cooperating with Junts would risk being an “accomplice” of the separatists.

Furthermore hard core PP leaders fear that Sanchez could yield to Catalan demands to form a government, and this could be the fuse for the dismemberment of a unified Spain.

Categories: Politics, International.

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  • Felipe Ordóñez de Rivera

    It is beyond outrageous that the formation of a government in Spain should depend on the say-so of a fugitive criminal holed up in Brussels. Clearly there are no lengths that Sanchez will not go to in order to keep in office himself and his ramshackle Frankenstein coalition of socialists, communists, separatists and former terrorists. The King should order new elections rather than have to commission such a shameless politician like Sanchez to be President of the Council of Ministers.

    Sep 06th, 2023 - 11:42 am 0
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