In the hands of the independentists

Spain is going through a difficult political moment in which the only possibility of forming a new Government in the short term depends on the pro-independence parties of Catalonia and, particularly, on one of its best-known leaders, Carlos Puigdemont, who is on the run from Spanish justice, persecuted for having organized the illegal referendum of October 1, 2017.

The recent elections on July 23 led to a dispersion of the vote and neither one of the two main parties -Partido Popular (PP) and Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE)- obtained a sufficient majority to form a Government. Spain is a parliamentary system in which the support of at least 176 members of Congress is necessary to constitute a Government.

The center-right PP, which was the winner of the elections with 137 seats in Parliament, already has the support of the far-right party Vox, but it is still far from the 176 necessary to get the green light from Congress.

The Socialist Party (PSOE), which was second with 121 seats, has the support of the far-left Sumar and also appears to have the support of pro-independence parties in Catalonia and the Basque Country. However, to reach the magic number of 176 he will need the support of Puigdemont, who lives in self-exile in Belgium and whom Spanish judges are demanding for crimes against the Constitution and for corruption.

As an essential condition for giving his support to a new government led by socialist Pedro Sánchez, Puigdemont has demanded an amnesty from which both he and hundreds of other people prosecuted for the events of October 1 can benefit. Several experts have warned that such an amnesty would clearly violate the Spanish Constitution. Even former leaders of the PSOE have said that this amnesty would represent an attack against Spanish democracy.

It is not yet known whether Pedro Sánchez will accept Puigdemont’s conditions to continue as President of the Government, although several of his ministers who in the past rejected the amnesty because they considered it unfair and illegal, have now begun to admit that possibility. In the past, Sánchez pardoned other leaders of the 2017 independence uprising, but Puigdemont was excluded because, having fled the country, he has not even been tried.

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