Socialists and Junts intensify negotiations to reach last-minute deal ahead of Spanish PM bid vote

Catalan pro-independence leaders meet with members of PSOE in Brussels

Former Catalan government president Carles Puigdemont with Socialist organizational secretary Santos Cerdán on October 31
Former Catalan government president Carles Puigdemont with Socialist organizational secretary Santos Cerdán on October 31 / Junts
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

November 6, 2023 10:23 AM

November 6, 2023 07:13 PM

The Spanish Socialists and the Catalan pro-independence party Junts are intensifying negotiations to reach a last-minute deal to back Pedro Sánchez's prime ministerial bid vote on Monday. 

Members of both parties are currently in Brussels, where former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has resided since leaving Spain in 2017 in the aftermath of the independence referendum. Negotiations are on the right track, Junts sources told the Catalan News Agency (ACN), and a deal could be struck soon. 

On Monday afternoon, Junts and the Socialists said was "probable" that talks would continue into the night, reducing the possibility of a deal on Monday. 

Sources at the negotiation said there were two exchanges of documents between the parties on Monday, but that these exchanges were slow because legal teams had to review the texts. 

"If it were a question of politics it would be faster," a source said. They said it was likely that the negotiations would continue into the night because an agreement is "close."  


During the weekend, while negotiations were underway, Junts and Socialists worked out the details of a future amnesty law that had been a worry for the latter in previous conversations. 

On Sunday night, Socialist organizational secretary Santos Cerdán traveled to Brussels, as well as Jordi Turull, secretary general of Junts, and parliament spokesperson Albert Batet. On Monday, the party's president, Laura Borràs, also flew to the European capital

The Socialists expected to reach an agreement last week. However, their goals were not fulfilled as, after announcing the deal with pro-independence Esquerra Republicana, Junts had some discrepancies about the amnesty law. 

Conversations throughout the weekend could mean there would be a last-minute deal unless the Socialists backtrack some of their proposals, sources of Junts told ACN. 

The Socialists also believe there could be an agreement soon. On Saturday, 87% of its members backed the deals with other political forces to reelect Pedro Sánchez as Spain's PM. 

Last-minute deal

The agreement is considered a last-minute deal as there are not a lot of days left in the congressional calendar to elect a new prime minister

After the election in July left a hung parliament, the chamber speaker, Francina Armengol, following the request of Spain's King Felipe VI, invited the leader of the People's Party, the group with the most seats in the lower house, to try to form a government. 

However, Alberto Núñez Feijóo fell short of a majority during his prime ministerial bid, and, therefore, a two-month countdown to elect a PM started. The deadline was automatically marked for November 27; if there is no PM elected by then, a snap election will automatically be called. 

But if an agreement between the Socialists and Junts is met, the next step would be to present Congress with a proposal to pass an amnesty law. The Socialists are relying on a vote from every party that would back the PM bid: left-wing coalition Sumar, Catalan pro-independence Esquerra and Junts, and other regional parties such as PNB, Bildu, and BNG. 

At the same time, Armengol could announce the date of the vote for the next day, something which already happened when the conservative People's Party leader, Mariano Rajoy, back in 2016. 

The vote could take place this week.  

The Socialists expect every political party they have been negotiating with to vote in favor of Sánchez, resulting in a potential total 178 seats of the 176 required. This would mean there would be no need to repeat the vote 48 hours later.