Pedro Sánchez has had to listen in Congress to his own words repeated insistently from the mouths of his political opponents. The leaders of the PP, Pablo Casado, and of Ciudadanos, Inés Arrimadas, as well as the spokesperson of Vox, Iván Espinosa de los Monteros, have read this Wednesday, during the weekly session of control to the Government, statements of two and three years ago of the president in which he flatly rejected that the leaders of the process they might be pardoned one day. “These things were said by you in one of your previous metamorphoses,” the popular leader has irony. Sánchez has ignored this poisoned review of his rivals to the newspaper archive and has reaffirmed his determination to grant the grace measures to try to open a new stage in Catalonia. The pardons, he argued, do not undermine legality, as the right says. On the contrary, the president stressed, they are part of the “defense of the constitutional values of harmony and coexistence”.
One more week, the PP has launched into a barrage against the Government in Congress regarding the imminent pardons that are announced. The popular ones have not been daunted by the finding that the majority of the Chamber supports the Executive in this matter, as had been seen on Tuesday in the debate of a motion with which the PP sought a parliamentary condemnation of the grace measures. The motion has been voted on this Wednesday and has received 190 votes against, those of the PSOE, United We Can, More Country and all nationalist groups. Vox, Ciudadanos and the regionalist right have supported the text of the PP, which has added 152 favorable votes. Coalición Canaria and Teruel Existe have abstained.
Sánchez, Vice President Carmen Calvo and the Ministers of Justice and the Interior have made this Wednesday of fronton before the tireless artillery of the popular and also – although with less fire capacity due to their lower parliamentary weight – of Vox and Citizens. The PP has also tried to open a gap in the Government by appealing to the head of Defense, Margarita Robles, who in her time as judge signed a manifesto that asked to extinguish the figure of the government pardon. Last week, Robles, the minister whom the right respects the most, had already avoided specifying whether she supports the grace measures for the independentists. And this Wednesday she has once again slipped away from the issue by diverting the Executive to the Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, the question addressed to her.
Both Sánchez and Vice President Calvo and their ministers have defended the legality of the pardons and, above all, have insisted that the PP does not offer any alternative to the situation in Catalonia, for which they blame the executives of Mariano Rajoy. Sánchez has spoken of “indolence” and Calvo of “laziness” to describe the attitude with which the last popular governments faced the independence challenge. The president has reproached the PP for the unilateral declaration of independence (DUI) and two illegal referendums during his term. “With us, zero referendum and zero DUI,” he emphasized. Calvo has insisted on the same idea before the popular spokesperson, Cuca Gamarra, to whom he replied: “What kind of program do you have for Spain if you don’t paint anything in Catalonia or the Basque Country?”
Sánchez has tried not to descend excessively to the melee with Casado and has only commented in passing on the matter that could be more uncomfortable for the popular leader, the statements of the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, on the role of the Rey when the time comes to sign the grace measures. The socialist leader has limited himself to accusing his opponent of “ordering Ayuso to say incongruities about the Monarchy”, without going any further.
In front of the leader of Vox, Santiago Abascal, the president has insisted that the Government, although negotiating with the independentistas, is not going to renounce the “territorial unity” of Spain. And it was at that moment when he framed the pardons in the “constitutional values of harmony and coexistence.” Abascal had accused him before of “betraying the King and the Supreme Court” and concluded his intervention with a warning: “He will end up paying for it and hopefully it will be in front of a court.”
Sánchez has also avoided entering the various jokes that the opposition has dedicated to him due to his fleeting meeting in a corridor of the NATO headquarters in Brussels, last Monday, with the president of the United States, Joe Biden. Married, after concluding his first speech, he gloated before the chief executive: “Now you have to answer me five times longer than the time you used to persecute Biden.” The popular leader has returned to the matter later. The “29 seconds” with the US president have been “a shame for everyone,” according to Casado, who has managed to end up linking that meeting and the protests promoted by the right against pardons. With the scene in the corridors in Brussels, Sánchez “was left naked in view of the world,” the popular leader has argued. “It is proof of the respect you deserve abroad and on the streets of Spain,” he added.
Sánchez has remained unfazed by those attacks. He has not made any comment about the meeting with Biden and has not even resorted to allusions to the “trio of Colón”, one of his favorite resources to protect himself from the attacks of the PP.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.