Pedro Sánchez has offered his first interview on Monday after the pardons, and has admitted that on this issue he has radically changed his mind in two years, since he campaigned in 2019, guaranteeing full compliance with the sentences until now, when he has openly committed to forgiveness. When asked about Ángels Barceló on Cadena SER, Sánchez has admitted that twist. I do not deny [que he cambiado de opinión]. Before, utility was punishment. And now the utility for coexistence is forgiveness, pardon ”, the president pointed out. “Where I have never changed my mind is to return this crisis to politics. To restore coexistence, before we needed to punish behaviors, but now the useful thing is forgiveness. We have not forgotten, but if we repeat what we did we will return to the place where we did not advance. We want to turn the page, overcome a crisis ”, he insisted.
Sánchez, who is in Barcelona, where he dined last night at the same table with King Felipe VI, the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, and the president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, a gesture of institutional normality that the cameras picked up, is convinced that little by little that environment conducive to dialogue will be recovered. But he believes that now, after the first step taken by his Government, it is the Generalitat that should take the next. Sánchez explains that he has made a gesture for the independentistas, recognizing that with their leaders in jail it was not possible to advance. And now he believes that at least ERC should make a gesture towards the non-independence Catalans, sending them a message. “We have given a clear message in favor of dialogue. I would like the Generalitat to recognize the other part of Catalonia that does not share the division of Catalan society ”.
In video, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, maintains that the dialogue table has to be only between the Catalan executive and the central one.
At the dialogue table – still without a starting date and in which, according to Sánchez’s words, Oriol Junqueras will not be present, because it will be between governments – the president hopes to talk about things other than self-determination and amnesty, in which he will there is possible agreement. “You have to be realistic, humble, gradualist. If we begin to speak for the things that separate us the most, it will be difficult for us to advance. Beyond the territorial issues that keep us away, there are many others that we can agree on. Europe, gender policy, inequality, how to invest the 140,000 million of the European fund. Let’s build from there ”. Sánchez rules out the self-determination referendum, and believes that the other way around, the solution is to vote for an agreement and not a disagreement. “Why are we going to place the problem on the public? Wouldn’t that show our inability to come to terms? If we all really believe in dialogue, we must approach where there are agreements. First, Catalonia now has to talk to Catalonia. One can speak of greater self-government but within the law. Democracy does not ask anyone to change ideals. Only that democratic legality is respected. The bishops’ spokesman said something that seems to me to be eloquent and correct enough to be able to echo it, that the Spanish Constitution is not a dogma, but it does mark the territory on which we can dialogue ”, he assured .
Sánchez has been especially critical of the PP, not only because of its rejection of pardons but because it keeps the renewal of various bodies blocked, including the Court of Accounts, which can now also complicate the dialogue. The president has minimized the force of this court – “it is an administrative instance, not a judicial body,” he said – but above all he has charged against the PP, which controls it and refuses to renew it: “The PP is making the opposition most furious in Europe. Yesterday they even broke a basic consensus with the victims of terrorism [al no asistir al acto de homenaje como protesta por el acercamiento de presos de ETA]. They block the Judicial Power, the Constitutional Court, the Court of Accounts. They use the pandemic to try to bring down the government. The Spanish are taking notice. The PP considers that the Constitution is only fulfilled when they are in power. They show enormous frustration. If you don’t have a project for Catalonia, you can’t have it for Spain. Citizens do not follow them in Colón or in the petitioning tables ”.
Sánchez has been especially harsh with the former president of the PP Government José María Aznar, who believes that he is influencing the current leadership to bet on that line of “furious opposition”. “Aznar does little justice to himself. He has been eaten by his own character. Aznar won in 96 invoking Azaña, making pacts with nationalism. That has been lost, now we see a distorted figure. What he should do is apologize for putting Spain into an unjust war, as was the one in Iraq. Talk about the legitimacy of the government. Legitimacy is decided by the Spanish, not by him. Aznar represents the past, but marks the line to the current leadership of the PP. I like the opposition Illa makes in Catalonia, offering agreements. Or Swords in Andalusia. Making opposition is not saying four expletives in the control session on Wednesdays and staying there ”.
The president has made it very clear that, after the pardons, the legislature will revolve around the investiture bloc. In fact, he has been very critical of Ciudadanos, with whom he tried several agreements in 2020 and even tried to govern in Murcia. The failure of this motion of censure marked a turn in the legislature that is now consolidated with a growing estrangement with the party of Inés Arrimadas. The tone between the two formations is increasingly tense and the Citizen leader has come to say that she would now support a motion of censure if it were presented by the PP. “Citizens will have to reevaluate what their space is. If he is from the center and liberal, it makes little sense that he only agrees with the right wing. There is no liberal party in Europe that only pacts with the right and the extreme right ”, the president assured. The blocks are thus consolidated and the new scenario seems increasingly clear from here to the end of the legislature: a PSOE embraced its investiture partners and a PP increasingly harsh with Vox and Ciudadanos contesting the space of the right.
I listened here the full interview to the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, on Cadena SER.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.