Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez edges closer to a new term, winning support from Catalan separatists with a controversial amnesty for those involved in the failed push for independence six years ago
The deal between the Spanish Socialist Workers’ party (PSOE) and the centre-right comes after a week of tense negotiations and amid widespread concerns over the amnesty, which have led to street protests, dire warnings from conservative judges and questions from Brussels.
Santos Cerdán, the PSOE’s organisational secretary, speaking shortly after the agreement was announced on Thursday, November 9, said the negotiations had yielded “a historic opportunity to resolve a conflict that could – and should – only be resolved politically”.
He said the proposed amnesty bill would now be put before parliament, adding that a new, socialist-led government would offer a progressive alternative to an alliance between the conservative People’s party (PP) and the far-right Vox party.
Below, the rally called in Plaza Nueva demanding no to the amnesty.
Sánchez, in office since 2018, is poised for a smooth re-election as his Socialist party secures support from various smaller parties, ensuring a backing of 179 legislators, three more than the required 176 majority in Parliament for the initial vote.
The inconclusive July 23 elections in Spain left all parties without a clear path to forming a government. The Popular Party, led by Alberto Núñez Feijóo, won the most seats with 137, but its close ties with the extreme right Vox party hindered support for Feijóo’s investiture bid in September.
Sánchez’s Socialists, with 121 seats in the 350-seat Parliament, have formed deals, including with leftist coalition partner Sumar (31 seats), securing an additional 27 seats from six smaller parties for the investiture vote. The stability of this coalition throughout the parliamentary term remains uncertain.
A contentious deal was struck with a fringe Catalan separatist party, led by fugitive former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, offering the support of its seven parliament members in exchange for amnesty for those involved in Catalonia’s failed secession bid in 2017. The proposal has sparked protests, particularly from right-wing opposition parties, some escalating into clashes with police.
The details of the amnesty bill, benefiting Puigdemont and others involved in the secession attempt, are pending release. The proposal has triggered opposition from the judiciary and police unions. Sánchez, formerly against amnesty, now argues it is necessary for Catalonia’s return to normal political life and will benefit Spain, a stance supported by most parties backing him.