How Spanish Prime Minister Was Able Keep His Post Thanks to Separatists and How It Divided the Country

Tuesday, 28 November 2023

Spain has got a new government, led once again by Pedro Sanchez from the Socialist Party, after months of uncertainty.

The appointment has resulted into the largest protests and political polarisation in Spain's history.

Read more in the article by Iryna Kutielieva, European Pravda journalist – Price of Alliance with Separatists: Why Spain Fell into Political Crisis and Its Consequences.

Sanchez made a deal with Catalan and Basque nationalists to secure a majority, agreeing to actions that many in Spain consider unacceptable.

Spanish socialists and their partners from the left-wing political movement Sumar agreed to the demand of two major Catalan parties, Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and the coalition Junts (Together for Catalonia), to declare amnesty for politicians who sought Catalonia's independence in 2017.

The election winner, the People's Party, as well as right-wing radicals from Vox, accused Sanchez of hypocrisy and putting personal interests above national interests. They believe that amnesty contradicts the constitution and encourages Catalan separatists to make another attempt to get independence.

The potential amnesty for separatists has sparked dissatisfaction among the residents of Spain, leading to almost daily protests.

Pedro Sanchez rejected accusations of trading unity for votes in his inaugural speech.

He claims that amnesty will allow the country to let go unpleasant moments in the past and turn this page of history. According to him, amnesty will promote "peaceful coexistence" between Catalonia and the rest of Spain.

"We chose reunification, not revenge. Unity, not division," Sanchez declared to lawmakers.

It is expected that the Spanish Parliament will consider the amnesty bill early next year.

The amnesty will also apply to politicians.

The most well-known among them is the leader of Junts party, former head of the Catalan regional administration Carles Puigdemont, who has been hiding from legal prosecution in Belgium for several years.

Puigdemont is considered the main beneficiary of the deal between Sanchez and Catalan parties. However, he refrains from commenting on his return.

Although Sanchez made it clear that he does not share Catalonia's independence ideas and unity must be guaranteed, Catalan separatists see the amnesty as a sign of possible further actions, including a new referendum.

The EU has met the idea of amnesty for Catalan separatists with scepticism. They are studying the Spanish amnesty law for compliance with EU rules.

Finally, about the new government of Spain.

Like the previous one, the new government has 22 ministerial portfolios. The majority of ministerial portfolios, 12, will be held by women, with four of them also serving as deputy prime ministers.

Sanchez's Socialists retained key ministerial positions.

After the presentation of the government, the Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, who saved her position, participated in an online meeting of the Contact Group on Defense Issues of Ukraine and reported the dispatch of 15 pallets of medicines and surgical instruments to Ukraine, as well as training for Ukrainian military personnel.

This gives hope that Madrid's support for Ukraine will continue.

However, one unpleasant signal has already been received.

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