Junts and Socialists reach deal for Pedro Sánchez's PM bid
Overnight negotiations focused on the scope of the amnesty law
Catalan pro-independence party Junts per Catalunya reached an agreement with the Socialists on Thursday morning to support Pedro Sánchez's bid to become Prime Minister during their meetings in Brussels.
The deal was signed between both parties in the morning, ahead of the press conferences by Santos Cerdán, Socialist organizational secretary, and members of Junts.
Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said Catalonia enters an "uncertain and difficult journey" in a much-anticipated press conference.
Voting "is not considered a crime in any democratic country, that is why we need an amnesty: to return political events to politics," he said, reflecting on the controversial amnesty bill.
The former Catalan president has emphasized that despite their differences with the Socialists, they "have been honest in their differences" and will now be able to reach agreements during Pedro Sánchez's new term.
"We now start an unexplored era, an era that we will need to explore and take advantage of," Puigdemont said.
Puigdemont has revealed part of the agreement consists of the appointment of a "verificator" that ensures the agreement is fulfilled.
"This is a term agreement, not for just the prime ministerial bid," Santos Cerdán said during a press conference at midday.
"It comes as a historic opportunity to solve a conflict that can only be solved through politics. A deal between two groups that have a lot of discrepancies, but we have found an agreement," he added.
The text reads that this agreement "allows to reach a new deal to open a new phase and to contribute to solve the historic conflict about Catalonia's future."
Pedro Sánchez needed the support of Junts to lead another term in government after securing the support of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), another Catalan pro-independence party, on the scope of the amnesty law.
However, Junts considered that the amnesty text signed with the other party was insufficient and demanded that the future law also include cases not directly related to the 2017 independence push, which they consider "lawfare.”
The new text will include citizens and those responsible "before and after the 2014 non-binding self-determination referendum and from the 2017 vote that have been prosecuted or are in judicial processes linked to these events," as the text read.
All those people going from 2012 to 2023 could "be eligible for this amnesty law," Cerdán said before adding that "no specific names were agreed, that it will only depend on the judges."
The conclusions of the "investigation committee that will be set in motion during the next mandate will also be taken into account."
The document also includes a compromise for Junts to give stability in Congress during the whole term to back Pedro Sánchez's government if the deals reached are fulfilled. Catalonia will also have a more important presence in European institutions and other international entities, the agreement also reads.
The deal is also expected to lead to an upcoming announcement of a date for Pedro Sánchez’s investiture as Prime Minister in the Spanish Congress.
"Stability during the mandate has to be achieved agreement by agreement, without an agreement, the mandate will not continue," Puigdemont said.
'Not identified with Spain'
The agreement signed remembers that "a large part of the Catalan society did not feel identified with the Spanish political system currently in place" and highlights the 2014 non-binding referendum, the 2017 vote, and the following application of the 155 Article of the Spanish constitution, in which the Spanish executive controlled Catalan institutions.
Despite their "discrepancies," both groups consider a political solution was needed to put an end to a conflict that has been going on for a long time and that "six years after," referring to the 2017 events, continues without any in-depth solution.
"The Socialists and Junts agree that after the results of the July 23 election, there is an opportunity that they want to take advantage of in a responsible matter," which is why they are focusing their efforts on "deals and agreements" to solve the conflict of "most of the requests from the Catalan parliament."
"We are in Brussels and not in Barcelona signing the agreement to back a Spanish prime ministerial bid," Puigdemont said, in reference to the lack of feeling of identity from Catalans on Spain.
Highly controversial amnesty bill
Pedro Sánchez's negotiations with Catalan pro-independence parties over a possible amnesty law have sparked violent protests in Madrid. Hundreds of protestors rallied on Wednesday night outside the Socialists' headquarters for the sixth day in a row.
The demonstrations were called by several far-right groups and supported by the far-right Vox party. Conservative People's Party (PP) leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo has condemned the violence during the protests after 30 police officers were injured on Tuesday night.
Nine years from first independence vote
Carles Puigdemont, who left Spain after the 2017 referendum, could be the most high-profile beneficiary of the law. The MEP shared a verse from Salvador Espriu's poem 'Indesinenter' on X, formerly known as Twitter, to commemorate the independence consultation of November 9, 2014, nine years ago today.