Cs party proposes enabling Socialist government if pardon for Catalan leaders is ruled out
Albert Rivera calls on People’s Party to facilitate Pedro Sánchez’s presidency as a "state solution"
As Spain braces for another snap election after months of fruitless negotiations, Ciutadans (Cs) has made a surprise proposal to prevent fresh polls: enabling a Socialist government if Pedro Sánchez rules out using his presidential powers to pardon the Catalan leaders awaiting verdict in the independence referendum trial.
Cs leader Albert Rivera called on the People’s Party, the other major right-wing party in the Spanish Congress, to jointly facilitate Sánchez’s presidency as a "state solution"—a double-edged proposal that could either save Spain from another election, or present Rivera as a statesman in the upcoming election campaign if the offer is rejected.
Sánchez appeared to welcome Rivera's proposal later on Monday, implicitly accepting the conditions by saying that "there are no real obstacles for Cs and PP to abstain."
Rivera, an implacable detractor of the independence movement, has repeatedly warned against Sánchez using his presidential powers to pardon Catalan politicians and activists on trial for their role in the 2017 independence bid.
Sánchez, who came to power in 2018 with the support of pro-independence parties, has never clarified whether he would offer the presidential pardon to Catalan leaders.
PP head Pablo Casado met with Rivera on Monday afternoon to discuss the proposal, but has not announced yet whether he accepts it or not.
Catalan president Quim Torra called Rivera's proposal "shameful." He also dismissed Sánchez's response as "obscene."
Rivera's proposal comes after months of failed negotiations between the Socialists and Unidas Podemos to form a left-wing government, which seemed the most plausible option since a general election last April. Rivera himself had promised during the election campaign not to back a Socialist executive led by Sánchez.