Catalan president defends amnesty and referendum in Senate speech

Pere Aragonès criticizes Spain's "authoritarianism" and proposes democratic approach to Catalonia, not "imposition"

Catalan president Pere Aragonès during a speech in Spain's Senate on April 8, 2024
Catalan president Pere Aragonès during a speech in Spain's Senate on April 8, 2024 / Miquel Vera
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Madrid

April 8, 2024 09:43 AM

April 8, 2024 06:11 PM

Catalan president Pere Aragonès addressed the Spanish Senate on Monday, six months after his last speech there, to defend the need for an amnesty law for Catalan pro-independence figures, a "singular financial" system for Catalonia, and a referendum.

"Even if you scream a lot against it, it is inevitable," Aragonès said during his 10-minute speech in Spain's upper chamber.

For the Catalan president, the amnesty law must allow society to "look forward" and consolidate the path towards negotiation.

He criticized Spain's "authoritarianism" and suggested a democratic approach to Catalonia, not "imposition."


Among the attendees in the chamber were six regional presidents of the conservative People's Party, including Isabel Díaz Ayuso, president of Madrid. However, none of the Socialist regional presidents attended the session.

Members of the PP used their absolute majority in the chamber to pass a report that says that the amnesty for those figures related to the Catalan independence push is a "death sentence" for Spain's rule of law.

The amnesty law "breaks the fundamental rights of the Constitution," People's Party senator Antonio Silván said.

"The amnesty is a deadly blow to our constitutional and autonomous state, as it breaks the model of 1978, breaking equality among Spaniards, breaking the principles of solidarity, and ceding public finances to the interests of unilateral policies," he added.

Aragonès returned to the Senate six months after his last speech, on October 19, 2023, when he also defended the amnesty. At the time, the issue was one of the requests from Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya in exchange for greenlighting Pedro Sánchez's Spanish prime ministerial bid.

Back then, the Catalan president abandoned the chamber after his speech, but on Monday, he followed what the People's Party's regional presidents said.

Constitutional reform needed

The document criticizing the amnesty was approved on Monday with the support of the PP members in the Senate, where the party has an absolute majority.

The text says that the amnesty law would have a "deadly impact on our constitutional and autonomous state," as it would leave the "most serious violation of solidarity in four decades" unpunished.

The PP also considers the amnesty law a "destruction of Spain's unity" that "will break the baseline of equality."

Members of the conservative group consider that the amnesty would only be possible with Constitutional reform, and therefore, they doubt that Congress can pass the legislation. This is why they say that unless the Constitutional Court halts the law, it will create a dangerous precedent.