Socialist leader pledges dialogue between Spain and Catalonia

Pedro Sánchez appeals to pro-independence parties in his attempt to oust president Mariano Rajoy

Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez in parliament (by Javier Barbancho)
Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez in parliament (by Javier Barbancho) / ACN

ACN | Madrid

May 31, 2018 12:11 PM

Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez promised to open dialogue between the Spanish and Catalan governments if he succeeds in his attempt to oust Mariano Rajoy as president and form an alternative cabinet. The votes of pro-independence parties in the Spanish parliament will be crucial in determining whether Sánchez’s motion of no confidence succeeds or not.

The Socialists are seeking to force the president out after Rajoy's People's Party was convicted in the so-called Gürtel case, a major corruption scandal involving illegal party financing. 

Despite his call for dialogue, Sánchez tiptoed around the political situation in Catalonia and spent less than a minute of his parliamentary speech on Thursday addressing the independence bid. These are muddy waters for him: Sánchez backed Rajoy when the Spanish government imposed direct rule following a declaration of independence last October, and he has been a blatant detractor of Catalan president Quim Torra, who he has dismissed as a “racist” and “supremacist.”

In his response to Sánchez's speech, Rajoy accused him of being “indifferent” to the situation in Catalonia and aligning himself with pro-independence parties. “We’re far from recovering normality, but that doesn’t stop you,” he said.