The debate on the amnesty for the Catalan independence movement that Congress rejected at the end of January continues to be the incandescent iron that the government of Pedro Sánchez and the Popular Party (PP), the main opposition force in Spain, throw at each other to discredit each other.
To the low blow that the separatist party Junts per Catalunya did not approve in Parliament for the law that the independentists themselves had demanded, was added to a final scandal that, this time, wears down the PP and weakens its credibility.
It happened over the weekend, in Galicia, when during a lunch with the pressvoices from the national leadership of the party confided to 16 Spanish journalists, who are covering the campaign for the Galician regional elections on Sunday the 18th, that the PP had maintained contacts with Junts.
Through recklessness or intentional trust, these PP sources would have detailed to the Spanish media that the party leader, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, analyzed for 24 hours whether an amnesty for the independentists who tried to declare the republic of Catalonia in 2017 was legally possible or not.
Alberto Núñez Feijóo was the main speaker at an event in Madrid against the amnesty for Catalan independentists. Photo: archive
They would have also said that the party leader would have considered the possibility of pardoning to the former Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, although with conditions.
Puigdemont was governing from the Generalitat Palace in Barcelona when in October 2017 he tried to unilaterally declare independence in Parliament, but the national government crushed any separatist attempt by dismissing the regional cabinet and intervening in the autonomous community.
Puigdemont fled to Belgiumto avoid the dungeon and, from there, he put together the political platform that today is Junts, a right-wing separatist party, not very conciliatory on issues that are not of its own nationalist interest and that, with only 7 deputies in the national Congress, became indispensable for the re-election of Pedro Sánchez and for the governability of Spain.
Junts agreed to support Sánchez in exchange for a series of concessions. Among them, an amnesty law that would shield any type of possible future accusation against its leader, Carles Puigdemont.
The PSOE made an effort to design the bill but, at the last minute, two investigations against Puigdemont, one for possible terrorism and another for alleged connections with the Russian government, opened cracks in the protective wall of the amnesty law that Junts intends. for the former Catalan president.
Conditions of the PP to pardon Puigdemont
At the España restaurant in Lugo, the PP executives who had lunch over the weekend with the Spanish media would have given some details of what Núñez Feijóo was contemplating: that a pardon for Puigdemont could become possible but with conditions. If he requested it, if he returned to Spain – where to this day he is considered a fugitive from Justice -, if he was tried and if the Catalan repented and promised to abandon the unilateral path of independence.
The leak -or confession- generated a new wave of turbulence on the Spanish political scene.
“What need was there for this to be known now?” they ask in the PP.
Carles Puigdemont during the press conference in Brussels, Belgium. Photo: EFE/file
The government attacks Núñez Feijóo: “What they (the PP) really think is nothing like what they have been saying in recent months,” stressed Félix Bolaños, Minister of the Presidency, Justice and Relations with the Cuts.
“What is Mr. Feijóo going to say to all those citizens who have inoculated tension and hatred, who have been demonstrating at the socialist headquarters?” added the minister.
The leader of the PP has been leading a crusade against the amnesty for months. His party organized, between September 2023 and January of this year, four mass demonstrations in Madrid against the law that will erase the crimes committed by the independence movement.
Thousands of people attend the demonstration called by a hundred civil society organizations against the amnesty. Photo: EFE
“I am not Pedro Sánchez. I do not accept the amnesty nor will I accept it. “I do not accept pardons nor will I accept them,” Núñez Feijóo finally said after 24 hours of silence to calm things down.
“Mr. Sánchez has been trying to sneak an illegal amnesty for five months with a hammer and we have been telling people for five months to join us in the streets to continue fighting against an illegal amnesty,” stressed the president of the PP.
Vox against Núñez Feijóo
Vox, the far-right party that governs in coalition with the PP in some communities and town councils, He also shot Núñez Feijóo.
“They don't catch us in a meeting with Junts and they certainly don't catch us scamming the Spaniards, calling for mobilizations against the pardons, against the amnesty,” said Vox leader Santiago Abascal.
The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, defended Núñez Feijóo: “I think the president has been very clear at all times. He would not be able to even claim an amnesty or pardons for people who have committed these serious crimes,” said Díaz Ayuso.
“I am surprised that Vox and PSOE are creating a tandem on the eve of a Galician election,” speculated another regional president of the PP, Juanma Moreno, from Andalusia.
Five days before the Galicians elect their regional authorities, The elections in Galicia arouse unusual concern.
For the first time in decades, the PP sees the absolute majority falter with which Alberto Núñez Feijóo himself governed for four terms, before resigning from the Xunta to lead the party from Madrid, and the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) is running with a good prognosis and a female candidate, Ana Pontón.
Losing Galicia would be, for Nuñez Feijóo, a hard political, emotional and personal blow. I could even question his leadership within the PP.
“Everything will be known”
The Catalan independence movement observes, meanwhile, how the government and the opposition accuse and wear each other down.
Junts spokesperson, Josep Rius, pointed out: “We have already said everything we had to say (about the meetings with the PP). If we have to add something, we will.”
This Tuesday, the general secretary of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) – the moderate separatist force that governs there today -, Marta Rovira, added another piece of information: that the PP tried to agree with her party on an investiture of Núñez Feijóo.
In a letter he sent to MEPs a few days ago, Carles Puigdemont – who has been a member of the European Parliament since 2019 and in November of last year lost his parliamentary immunity – assures that he is suffering from judicial persecution and sowing discord between the PSOE and the PP.
“Monday, November 6, 2023, was the day that we had initially chosen to make public in Brussels the agreement signed between my party and the PSOE that would allow the investiture of Pedro Sánchez. That same day, neither before nor after, but precisely that November 6, the judge of the Spanish National Court García-Castellón decided to investigate me for a crime of terrorism,” Puigdemont writes.
“If my party had allowed the investiture of the PP candidate, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, or had prevented that of Pedro Sánchez, all these spectacles would have been saved. And we will also talk about this when it is time,” promises the former Catalan president.
“As in the 'Russian plot', everything will be known,” he concludes his letter, ironically about his alleged links with Putin that another investigating judge is investigating.