Podemos grants Socialists ‘full loyalty’ over Catalonia in government talks

In his bid to become minister under Pedro Sánchez, Pablo Iglesias promises Catalonia won’t be a problem despite discrepancies

Spain's acting president Pedro Sánchez (left) talking with Unidas Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias (by PSOE)
Spain's acting president Pedro Sánchez (left) talking with Unidas Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias (by PSOE) / ACN

ACN | Madrid, Barcelona

July 11, 2019 01:28 PM

As Spain’s acting president Pedro Sánchez stands firm in his ‘no’ to a coalition government with Podemos, party leader Pablo Iglesias has promised “full loyalty" over the issue that’s proving more divisive between both politicians: how to tackle Catalonia’s push for independence.

While Iglesias is the only Spanish politician willing to negotiate a referendum on self-determination, Sánchez and the Socialist party have repeatedly dismissed all possibilities of agreeing on a vote that could eventually mean Catalonia leaving Spain.

With right-wing parties demanding the suspension of self-rule in Catalonia and accusing the Socialists of having "secret deals" with pro-independence parties, reaching a deal with Podemos remains Sánchez's most viable option to stay in power.

By recognizing Sánchez’s "leadership" on how to deal with the Catalan crisis, Iglesias wants to put away the Socialists’ fears that forming a coalition government with Podemos will backfire when the verdict of the Catalan independence trial comes out next fall.

With some of Catalonia’s top politicians facing proposed prison sentences of up to 25 years, the upcoming ruling could unleash a political earthquake in Catalonia, similar to the 2017 referendum and declaration of independence that led to the trial in the first place.

Despite coming first in a recent general election, the Socialists need the votes of other parties in the Spanish Congress in order to stay in power. Sánchez will seek to be confirmed as president by a majority of lawmakers on July 22. If he fails to convince enough MPs to back him, Spain could be set for the fourth election in four years.