Pro-independence party warns Spanish president: to pass budget, drop rebellion charges

ERC MP Joan Tardà urges Pedro Sánchez to intervene in favor of jailed Catalan leaders

Joan Tardà, an MP at the Spanish Congress for Esquerra Republicana (by
Joan Tardà, an MP at the Spanish Congress for Esquerra Republicana (by / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

September 19, 2018 12:52 PM

One of Catalonia’s main pro-independence parties warned the Spanish president that his budget will fall short of votes to be approved in parliament if the public prosecutor does not drop rebellion charges against jailed Catalan leaders.

Joan Tardà, a member of the Spanish Congress for Esquerra Republicana (ERC) party, told president Pedro Sánchez that Catalonia could be his "political tomb" if he fails to address the issue of self-determination and the case against pro-independence leaders.

"If you do not urge the state attorney general to withdraw the accusation of rebellion, how will it be possible, for example, to come to an agreement on the budget? It's just about impossible," said Tardà.  

In response, Sánchez once again said he will not negotiate a referendum on independence for Catalonia. He stressed that his government has resumed dialogue with Catalan parties and is pursuing "institutional normalization."  

The Spanish president came to power last June with the support of pro-independence parties, which voted to oust former president Mariano Rajoy over a corruption scandal involving the People’s Party (PP).

With 84 seats out of 350, Sánchez’s Socialist party still relies on the cross-party coalition that ousted Rajoy in order for them to implement their political agenda.

Nine leaders in jail

In total, there are nine Catalan leaders jailed for their role in last October’s referendum and declaration of independence, including ERC leader and former vice president Oriol Junqueras, who has been in prison for ten months.

Seven Catalan politicians have left the country to avoid prosecution, some of whom also face charges of rebellion, such as former president Carles Puigdemont.