High expectations for Sánchez among Catalan leaders
"Still long battle ahead," says Puigdemont, supported by Torra, with Ciutadans' leader concerned about "concessions" made by Socialist leader to pro-independence parties
More than 3 in 4 Catalan MPs in the Spanish Congress voted Yes to oust Mariano Rajoy from the Spanish presidency. And that automatically means swearing the Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez in as the next Spanish leader. While some lawmakers were more enthusiastic about stripping Rajoy of power than giving it to Sánchez, Catalan leaders already have high expectations for the seventh head of government in Spain since the restoration of democracy in the post-Franco era.
The deposed Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, was among the first ones to react on Twitter. "If we wanted vengeance, today we could call ourselves satisfied. But as we want justice, today we still have nothing to celebrate. There is still a long battle and a long road ahead to defeat the injustices, which are numerous and long-lasting. "President Torra retweeted this comment.
The leader of Unionist Citizens (Cs), Albert Rivera, said that he will be alert to the "concessions" that the Socialist leader made to grant the support of pro-independence parties. He especially accused the president-to-be Pedro Sánchez of being at the hands of "racist" Catalan President Quim Torra.
"Sánchez uses his pact with all the sepratists and populists to be president at any price. Rajoy could have avoided but he didn't. Cs will be a firm opposition, defending union and equality of all Spaniards," he tweeted.
The spokesman of pro-independence party Esquerra in the Spanish government, Joan Tardà, said that in his first meeting with the next president of Spain, he will put forward “unmissable questions” in order to address “the violation of civil rights” of Catalan leaders “imprisoned or in exile.”
Tardà also asserted that his party is far from aligned with the Socialists, because they were “complicit” in the application of Article 155 in Catalonia, which led to the country being stripped of its self-rule. Despite this, he said that a Socialist government will be more open to dialogue than the People’s Party of Ciutadans.
"We say goodbye with pleasure to the Spanish government of PP. To Rajoy and his colleagues of organized crime and imprisoners. But let's not mislead outselves, there is much to be done," the party tweeted.
“A victory against Rajoy”
The spokesman of the other pro-independence party in the Spanish Congress, PDeCAt, stated that the “victory of the motion of no confidence” against Mariano Rajoy is “the victory of Catalonia against Rajoy.”
“Without the strength of the Catalan votes, Rajoy would still be president. Just for this, we should be happy,” said Carles Campuzano after the voting had taken place.
For his part, the leader of the People's Party in Catalonia tweeted his gratitude to the outgoing Spanish president. PP: "Thankyou president Rajoy for all you have done for Spain. Time and history will recognize the man who got our country out of the worst economic crisis in the last 80 years," he said on the social media platform.
Bring jailed leaders closer to home
The mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau called on Sánchez to bring Catalan leaders imprisoned in the Madrid region closer to their homes. Although she recognized that the situation is “in the hands of judges,” she highlighted that Sánchez and his future government play “a very important” role “in bringing the prisoners closer” to their families.
According to Colau, of Catalonia en Comú which is neither in favour of nor against independence, this is one of the first things expected of Sánchez in Catalonia.
She therefore asked for the creation of a “climate of distension” in order to help the judicial process set up by PP along. She said she hopes that in his first weeks as president, Sánchez will “make gestures towards Catalonia” to show he wants “real dialogue.”