Pro-independence parties give Sánchez cold shoulder
As acting Spanish president announces final campaign event in Barcelona, Catalan parties show little enthusiasm for helping Socialists into power
The news that Spain's acting president, Pedro Sánchez, will bring his Socialist party's electoral campaign to a close in Barcelona, two days before the general election on November 10, has failed to enthuse Catalonia's pro-independence parties.
Junts per Catalunya's (JxCat) Laura Borràs warned on Monday that "under Sánchez, the right does not stop growing" and said voting for the Socialists will open the door to the right, after "Sánchez's party walked with the far right," in Sunday's pro-Spanish unity march.
Some 80,000 people, according to local police, turned out in Barcelona in support of Catalonia remaining part of Spain, an event backed and attended by Spain's main conservative unionist parties, but also representatives of Sánchez's Socialist party.
Unlikely to win enough seats for a majority in the Spanish congress, the Socialists will have to find allies to be able to form a government. However, Sánchez has repeatedly ruled out accepting support from Catalonia's pro-independence parties in the chamber.
"Nothing to talk about," says ERC
In fact, on Monday, the other main pro-independence party, Esquerra Republicana (ERC), closed the door to working with Sánchez, with the party's campaign head, Sergi Sabrià, saying that "with this Socialist party there is nothing to talk about."
Before Sánchez called the November election, ERC offered its support in Congress in exchange for self-determination talks. Sánchez turned down that offer and now ERC has ruled out working with a party that "supports repression and does not want to negotiate."
In the April general election, the pro-independence parties won a record number of 22 seats (ERC 15, JxCat 7) in congress, and are hoping to increase that number in November so as to be able to put more pressure on the Socialists to discuss a binding referendum.
Socialists short of options
However, in his speech on Monday announcing the final campaign event in the Catalan capital, Sánchez spoke about "constructing the Spain of 2030," in which "Catalonia will have overcome its crisis of social coexistence."
If a Socialist party in need of votes in congress continues to rule out working with the pro-independence parties, its other option will be just as unpalatable - coming to agreement with Spain conservative unionist parties, the People's Party and Ciudadanos.