“Never,” Pedro Sánchez proclaimed with all his energy. “Never,” he immediately emphasized. “There will be no referendum on self-determination,” he concluded. The President of the Government has promised this Wednesday his word before the Congress of Deputies that the open dialogue with the Catalan independence movement will not lead to any agreement that exceeds the Constitution. This would require a change in the legal framework with the support of three-fifths of the Congress of Deputies, 210 of its 350 seats, the president recalled. “And the PSOE will not support it,” he added. “Never again”.
Sánchez had wrapped up the expected parliamentary debate on pardons in a generic appearance to discuss the latest agreements of the European councils and the “political and economic situation.” But the president, contrary to what the opposition feared, did not dilute the most contentious issue in a global speech. On the contrary, he went directly to defend his decision to pardon the leaders of the process. He did so with the recourse of evoking the Constituent Courts to argue that precisely the “spirit of concord” that made the Transition possible is the same that, according to him, inspires forgiveness to the independence leaders and the opening of a process of dialogue with their political formations.
The socialist leader reiterated that the Government has never questioned the Supreme Court’s condemnations of the promoters of the declaration of independence in October 2017, but pointed out that now “the time for politics has come” to leave behind “these sterile and painful years. ”. “What we cannot do is discharge our own political responsibility in the courts,” he commented. The president lavished winks at the social groups that have supported the pardons, especially Catalan businessmen. To the latter was destined the message that the arrival of the multimillionaire European funds requires “a reinforced coexistence with all the energies of a community like Catalonia”.
While defending the pardons, he wanted to mark very clearly his differences with the independentistas, who “broke the law” and “were not persecuted for their ideas.” And if anyone is tempted to reproduce this type of behavior, the Government “will continue to act with the utmost firmness.” It was the moment that he took the opportunity to solemnly declare that the PSOE will never lend itself to holding an independence referendum. And to defend that a Catalonia separated from Spain “would not be prosperous or European.” Sánchez’s commitment that did not make much of an impression on the House. Not only the right wing, but also the independentistas reminded him that in his day he also assured that there would be no pardons. And Gabriel Rufián, from ERC, said in his mocking tone: “Give us time.”
Before finishing, an invitation to the leader of the opposition. Given the extreme belligerence of Casado with the Government, Sánchez argued, “the only logical and thorough attitude is to present a motion of censure.” What the president would like is to have a “European, state opposition” that accepts his “outstretched hand” to renew the constitutional bodies. But that only depends on the PP, he claimed, because “the Government cannot do more.”
Casado went up to the rostrum wearing a black tie, as in the worst days of the pandemic, last spring, and his first words were: “Spain hurts me.” The phrase is by Miguel de Unamuno and it became an emblem of the generation of ’98, the one that sang the lament for the decline of the country after the loss of the last vestiges of the colonial empire. It was not easy for the leader of the PP to maintain the resounding escalation of disqualifications in which he has embarked after the approval of the pardons, but he worked hard at it. His gallery of images to illustrate the alleged delivery of Sánchez to the independentistas was tedious: Trojan horse, copilot, straw man, matrioska …
In his unstoppable 20-minute bombardment, Casado went back to the Civil War to draw a parallel with what happened in Catalonia. That contest, according to the leader of the PP, “pitted those who wanted democracy without law with those who wanted law without democracy.” The phrase later earned him a reproach, applauded by the entire left, from the leader of Más País, Íñigo Errejón, who reminded him that in 1936 it was the Francoists who carried out a coup against a legal government. Later, the socialist spokesperson, Adriana Lastra, also condemned the words of the PP leader: “In other words, thousands of Spaniards ended up in the gutters for defending a democracy without law. What a shame, Mr. Casado ”. Sánchez has also asked Casado to retract his words about the Civil War.
The parallels of the PP leader did not end there. It also went back to the negotiations of the Government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero for the end of ETA. “The independence movement was defeated, but Sánchez has revived it, as Zapatero revived the batasunos,” he said, ending up citing even the “murderers of the Bataclán.” “Spain is magnanimous, but not cowardly,” he declared. And he ended up reiterating his request for new elections. He had previously announced that his party has already filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the pardons.
If Casado did not present any alternative plan for Catalonia, the leader of Vox, Santiago Abascal, detailed it in all its forcefulness: illegalization of the pro-independence parties, closure of TV3, “end of apartheid linguistic “and” suspension of autonomy for as long as it takes to reestablish constitutional order. ” Abascal’s speech did not lack, of course, the reiteration of his thesis that the Government is “illegitimate”, to which he added this time that the Congress itself “no longer represents the feelings of the Spanish.” In the midst of his thunderous attack, the Vox leader agreed on one thing with Sánchez: he also invited Casado to present a motion of censure. Later, the leader of Ciudadanos, Inés Arrimadas, would join him. Both pledged their favorable vote to him.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.