Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday said he supported granting amnesty to those involved in Catalonia’s failed 2017 independence bid.
“Catalonia is ready for total reunion. Representatives of more than 80 percent of Catalans support this measure,” Sanchez said. “And for those same reasons, in the name of Spain, in the interest of Spain, in defense of coexistence among Spaniards, I defend today the amnesty in Catalonia for the events that occurred in the past decade.”
Sanchez declared his backing as the “only way” that he could build a governing coalition, El Confidencial reported.
Sanchez’s Socialist Party (PSOE) on Tuesday signed a coalition agreement with the far-left Sumar group, led by Yolanda Díaz. But that deal is not enough to secure a majority in parliament. The agreement includes a range of social measures, including proposals to regulate job cuts, raise the minimum wage and reduce working hours without decreasing salaries, according to El Pais.
Spain has been in political limbo since an inconclusive national election in July failed to give any of the major parties a clear path to form a government. Sanchez hopes backing amnesty will persuade Catalonia’s parties to back him in forming a government.
The potential amnesty has unleashed a political storm in Spain, with mainly conservative opponents holding large protests and accusing Sanchez of jeopardizing the rule of law for his own political gain, as reported by Reuters. According to a recent poll, 26 percent of the Spanish population are in favor of amnesty, compared to 70 percent against, Spanish radio station Onda Cero reported. The poll also found that 28 percent think that the way in which Sanchez is handling this issue is correct, while 63 percent consider it inappropriate.