Proposed prison sentences for Catalan leaders cause political turmoil in Spain
President Pedro Sánchez in the crossfire as pro-independence parties and rightwing unionists criticize the accusations
The political consequences of the proposed prison sentences for Catalan leaders of up to 25 years are starting to be felt in Spain.
Nobody seems to be satisfied with the accusations presented on Friday by the public prosecutor and the solicitor general: neither pro-independence parties nor right-wing unionists.
Spanish president Pedro Sánchez is in the crossfire. His Catalan counterpart, Quim Torra, reacted to the prison requests by withdrawing his support from Sánchez and announcing that pro-independence parties will not back the general budget in a crucial parliamentary vote.
The leader of Spain’s ruling Socialist party in Catalonia, Miquel Iceta, said that linking the passing of the budget to the case against independence leaders is a "terrible mistake."
"I'm ashamed after seeing what [Spanish president Pedro Sánchez] is willing to do in order to stay more weeks in power"
Inés Arrimadas · Cs leader in Catalonia
"A government can’t decide who enters prison, and can’t tell the prosecutor ‘I like this person, take care of them,’" said Iceta.
While the public prosecutor confirmed the rebellion accusations and requested prison sentences of up to 25 years, the solicitor general—representing the Spanish government—ruled out the crime of rebellion and proposed sentences of up to 12 years in jail for the lesser offenses of sedition and misuse of public funds.
Sánchez came to power last June thanks to pro-independence parties, which helped him oust Mariano Rajoy and the conservative People’s Party (PP) following a corruption scandal. Without their support, he depends on opposition parties to back the budget, which is highly unlikely.
PP and Cs take on Sánchez
PP and its main ally in the Spanish congress, Ciutadans (Cs), both of which are tough on Catalan leaders, accused Sánchez of interfering in the case by discarding the crime of rebellion.
Teodoro Garcia, PP’s secretary general, accused Sánchez of being a "political prisoner" of the "compromises he’s reached with pro-independence parties."
García spoke from Andalusia, a southern region in Spain, where a crucial election will take place on December 2. PP and Cs will try to put an end to the Socialists 40-year rule in the region.
Also making a presence in Andalusia, the leader of Cs in Catalonia and opposition head, Inés Arrimadas, took on Sánchez and said she was "ashamed after seeing what he is willing to do in order to stay more weeks in power."