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Spanish Parliament approves amnesty law for Catalan separatists

Photo: Josep Lago Agence France-Presse The law passed Thursday will allow the return of separatists in exile since the aborted 2017 secession, including Carles Puigdemont, seen here at a political rally held on May 4 in Argelès-sur-Mer, France.

Christian Chaise – Agence France-Presse in Madrid

Posted at 8:59 a.m. Updated at 1:28 p.m.

  • Europe

Spanish deputies definitively adopted on Thursday an amnesty law in favor of Catalan separatists, a highly controversial flagship measure of the left-wing government of Pedro Sánchez which will allow the return of separatists in exile since the aborted secession attempt of 2017, such as Carles Puigdemont.

At the end of a very tense session, marked by insults, this text was approved by 177 votes against 172, the absolute majority being 176.< /p>

This vote of the Congress of Deputies, where Pedro Sánchez has an absolute majority thanks to the support of the two Catalan independence parties, is the culmination of a long battle which dominated and radicalized Spanish political life since the elections last July.

The deputies had already adopted the text at first reading on March 14, but the Senate, controlled by the right-wing opposition, vetoed it two months later, sending the text back to the lower house, which therefore had the last mot.

“Forgiveness more powerful than resentment”

S' speaking from Waterloo, near Brussels, where he settled in 2017 to flee the pursuit of Spanish justice, Carles Puigdemont hailed a “historic” day in the “long fight” of the Catalan separatists.

“Today the Spanish State, through its Parliament, has corrected an error,” added the leader of the 2017 secession attempt and leader of the Together for the Party. Catalonia (Junts per Catalunya), denouncing the “judicial persecution” of which, according to him, the separatists were victims.

The separatists, however, warned that this amnesty was not the end of their fight, but just a step. Gabriel Rufián, of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), the other pro-independence party, thus estimated that the “next stop” on the road to independence was the organization of a referendum.

For Pedro Sánchez, this amnesty aims to put an end to the instability born from Catalonia's aborted attempt to unilaterally proclaim its independence in October 2017.

“In politics as in life, forgiveness is more powerful than resentment,” he commented on the social network X. “Spain today is more prosperous and more united than in 2017,” he added.

Then led by Mr. Puigdemont, the Catalan regional government organized a self-determination referendum on October 1, 2017, despite its ban by the courts.

Nearly a month later, the local parliament declared the region's independence, immediately leading to its placement under supervision by the Spanish government and the dismissal of the local government. The main separatist leaders were then incarcerated or had fled abroad like Carles Puigdemont.

These events had been one of the worst crises experienced by Spain since his return to democracy after the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1975.

But this amnesty measure, which should benefit around 400 people – first and foremost M . Puigdemont — is above all the price that Mr. Sánchez had to pay to be returned to power in November.

The two Catalan independence parties, starting with that of Mr. Puigdemont, had demanded it in return for the support of their 14 deputies, without which Mr. Sánchez had no chance of remaining prime minister.

Since then, the right-wing and far-right opposition has been up in arms against a law it considers “unconstitutional”, against which it has organized numerous demonstrations.

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“You lied! »

She never fails to recall that Mr. Sánchez himself had expressed his refusal of an amnesty during the campaign for the July 23 elections, before parliamentary arithmetic forced him to do so. to change your mind.

“You lied to the Spanish, because you promised not to! “, launched Thursday the leader of the Popular Party (PP), the main opposition party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo.

“You are going to amnesty your investiture partners simply to remain in power”, said, for his part, the leader of the far-right Vox party, Santiago Abascal, whose remarks triggered a violent reaction from the benches of the far left and the socialists, from which there were protests “Fascists! ” or “ pro-Nazi! »

Mr. Puigdemont had said, during the campaign for the Catalan elections of May 12, that he hoped to be present for the investiture debate of the new regional government, which must take place no later than June 25. He did not provide further information on Thursday.

But we do not know whether the arrest warrant against him will be lifted in time. Justice Minister Félix Bolaños said the law would be promulgated in “the coming days” — the courts will then have a maximum of two months to apply it.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116