The controversy amnesty law for Catalan independence that Pedro Sánchez agreed to separatism in exchange for supporting his re-election was debated this Tuesday in the Spanish Congress and, Contrary to what was planned, it was not approved.
At the last minute, Junts per Catalunya, the separatist party that demanded amnesty in exchange for favoring Sánchez's investiture, voted against the bill.
Junts' work is a I undermine the government that Sánchez inaugurated in November last year and that it is suffering so much wear and tear due to the pacts and concessions to the independence movement.
Junts, which responds to former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, wanted to introduce modifications so that the amnesty umbrella will leave its leader safemainly, and those who could be accused of terrorism or high treason against Spain during the attempt to separate Catalonia to create its own republic.
Puigdemont was the president of the Generalitat in 2017 when an illegal self-determination referendum was organized and, after unilaterally declaring independence, he fled Spain, where he is considered a fugitive from justice. Since then she has lived in Belgium.
Pedro Sánchez in the extraordinary session that dealt with the controversial amnesty law. AFP Photo
In November of last year, his party, represented in Parliament by seven deputies, said yes to Pedro Sánchez so that he could be re-elected president of the government. It was not disinterested support. In exchange, they asked for an amnesty law.
Since then, Spain has been agitated by those who believe that a clean slate will pacify coexistence and those who maintain that the amnesty is unconstitutional and represents an attack on the Spanish rule of law.
Independence activists under the microscope: from radical groups to possible contact with Putin
The decision of an investigating judge to continue investigating radical activist groups – such as Tsunami Democràtic or the Committee for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) – under the cover of possible terrorism, for riots committed in favor of the independence of Catalonia, is adds the resolution of another judge to continue investigating the alleged contacts of the protagonists of the procés (as the Catalan independence process is known) with Russia.
Puigdemont and his people would have had contact with Vladimir Putin's entourage, who would have been interested in providing financial support to the Catalan independence cause to destabilize Europe.
This alleged link could be classified as high treason. An investigating judge is investigating whether it is true that the Catalans were aware of Putin's intention to invade Ukraine years before it occurred.
That is why Junts' last-minute amendments to the amnesty bill aimed to cover Puigdemont from future charges and those who could be accused of terrorism or treason.
Carles Puigdemont, a fugitive, lives in Brussels. In 2017 he unilaterally declared the independence of Catalonia. AFP Photo
Junts' interlocutor, Pedro Sánchez's PSOE, refused to accept these modifications.
“We are not terrorists. Do not be afraid to amnesty crimes that we have not committed,” Puigdemont's party spokesperson, Míriam Nogueras, said this Tuesday when she took the stand in Congress.
“Comprehensive amnesty”, the request of the Catalan independentists
The organic amnesty law proposal, which was decorated with the title “For institutional, political and social normalization in Catalonia”, was debated in an extraordinary session.
Hours before the session began, Junts leaked that, as the law was drafted until this Tuesday, they would not approve it.
During the debate, Congress rejected the amendments that Junts demanded to approve it.
The seven votes from Puigdemont's party were essential to reach the majority of 176 in favor – half plus one of the 350 seats that make up the Congress of Deputies.
But the “yes” were 171 and the “no” were 179.
The amnesty project for Catalan independentists was rejected by 179 votes to 171. Photo AFP
Now the law will return to the Parliament's Justice Commission, which will have less than a month to adjust it, time that Junts intends to capitalize on to continue negotiating with the PSOE.
“I'm talking about a comprehensive amnesty, an amnesty that leaves no one behind. An amnesty that repairs the repression that the Catalan independence movement has suffered for many years,” insisted the Junts spokesperson.
“This text is a good starting point. But you know that this law has holes,” said Nogueras. “Stopping repression halfway is not stopping it,” he emphasized.
“A selective and deferred amnesty is not what we signed,” the Junts spokesperson reproached the PSOE.
President Pedro Sánchez was in the chamber for the vote but did not take the stand to defend the law that his party presented in December of last year.
It was the PSOE Justice spokesperson, Francisco Aranda, who spoke. “The Constitution is not at risk when we work for coexistence,” he said.
“Spain remains unbroken. It neither breaks nor is it going to break off,” Aranda stressed.
“This law is a determined, brave and democratic commitment to continue advancing in Catalonia along the path of reunion and coexistence,” he insisted. “It is good for Catalonia and, consequently, it is good for Spain.”
The “no” of the PP and Vox
In turn, the leader of Vox, Santiago Abascal, attacked the president of the government: “Mr. Sánchez is condemned to live in permanent blackmail until the last minute of each vote in this Legislature.”
“The bad news is that he continues to pay these bills with the assets of all Spaniards and that he is willing to do anything,” Abascal said.
This Tuesday, Santiago Abascal (Vox) attacked Pedro Sánchez. AFP Photo
“Now he even intends to amnesty the crime of treason. Because? Is he trying to amnesty himself?” said the Vox leader ironically.
The last of the speakers in Congress was the leader of the PP and the opposition, Alberto Núñez Feijóo.
“This law is a payment,” he said. The PSOE disburses, the independence movement receives and the only purpose is for Mr. Pedro Sánchez to continue as president of the government of Spain.”
“The humiliation is constant. Every day, every partner. Every vote is an ordeal,” said Núñez Feijóo before the 350 deputies cast their votes.
And he added: “Sánchez has chosen to be a hostage but not all Spaniards are going to pay him the ransom.”
Alberto Núñez Feijoo in his speech in Parliament when discussing the amnesty law. AFP Photo
“This law is infamous from minute one,” he insisted. But every day they have turned it into a greater obscenity. She is the Russian matryoshka. The necessary layers will be added but the Russian matryoshka has already entered the Chamber of Deputies.”
And he fired at the former Catalan president and leader of Junts: “Mr. Puigdemont left in the trunk of a car and now he will return in Mr. Sánchez's Falcon (presidential plane).”
Before his microphone was muted for having exceeded the time for his speech, Nuñez Feijóo promised: “We are going to ask the European Union for protection.”
“We will democratically rescue our country from the moral misery to which we have been condemned,” he assured.