Spanish PM agrees to amend amnesty bill to give Puigdemont more guarantees

Pedro Sánchez confident of deal with Junts before draft law is put to vote again

Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez in Congress
Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez in Congress / Spanish Congress
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

March 6, 2024 11:46 AM

March 6, 2024 07:09 PM

Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez has agreed to make changes to the amnesty bill to provide additional guarantees for Catalan independence supporters, particularly former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont. 

Although the Spanish PM did not reveal the specific details of these changes, he is confident that he will soon reach an agreement with Catalan pro-independence Junts to pass the draft law.

In fact, Sánchez said the deal will be closed in the next "few minutes or few hours," before a "transactional amendment" is announced that should let the bill be approved. 


At a press conference in Brazil, alongside President Lula da Silva, Sánchez said that "the important thing" is that "there will be a law" and that it will be "fully constitutional" and aligned with European law.

The controversial amnesty law, which will benefit those involved in the Catalan independence movement, was agreed late last year between the Socialist-led Spanish government and Catalan pro-independence parties. 

However, the bill suffered a setback in January when it was on the verge of being approved, as Carles Puigdemont's party, Junts, voted against the bill, arguing that it did not fully protect the former Catalan president. 

The bill was sent back to the Judiciary Committee where it will be voted on again on Thursday with the new amendments. If the vote is successful, the bill will be voted on again by Congress next week. 

One of the key points of disagreement revolves around the exclusion of cases related to terrorism. Junts wants the bill not to exclude all cases of terrorism, as Spain's Supreme Court is currently investigating several pro-independence supporters, including Puigdemont, for terrorism for the Tsunami Democràtic protests. 

To address these concerns, the Socialists have pledged to amend the bill. However, Sánchez stressed that the original text was constitutional and already covered Puigdemont.

The Spanish PM expressed his confidence that the bill would overcome any amendments proposed by the conservative People's Party in the Spanish Constitutional Court and the European Courts.

Controversial bill sparks political tensions

Catalan president Pere Aragonès said the amnesty law "will soon become a reality" and called the new vote a "unique opportunity" hoping that "everyone will live up to expectations".

"The amnesty law leaves behind a legacy of repression that affected many people and that many directly or indirectly supported. I am happy that they are now rectifying that," he said.

The second deputy prime minister of the Spanish government and leader of the left-wing party Sumar, Yolanda Díaz, said that the amendments to the proposed law were legal. 

"I think it is deeply unfair that there are many people, like teachers, who are being accused simply because they opened a school so that people could vote," she said, adding that the amnesty is "very positive." 

Spokesperson for the conservative People's Party Miguel Tellado said the Socialists had "once again bowed" to the pro-independence parties. 

"It is an unacceptable bill, it is political blackmail," he said, adding that "we are all equal in front of the law, except for the Catalan independence supporters." 

The vice-president of the Catalan government, Laura Vilagrà, said it was "good news" that the amnesty bill was being improved. She added that she has been informed that the agreement between Junts and the Socialists is "on track."

Tsunami Democràtic and the amnesty

Tsunami Democràtic organized protests in 2019 after the imprisonment of pro-independence leaders who organized the 2017 referendum. Actions included the blockade of the AP-7 highway near France and the attempt to shut down Barcelona Airport. 

The case of Tsunami Democràtic has featured prominently in discussions around the approval of the amnesty law, which aims to pardon those involved in the Catalan independence movement. 

Puigdemont's party Junts want to modify the draft law to ensure that those accused in the protests of Tsunami Democràtic, the Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR), and in the Volhov case, are protected by the law. 

To do so, they say, the law must remove any reference to terrorism as an exception to its application. But the Socialists are concerned that if they do, the law could get stuck in Spain's Constitutional Court and even be declared unconstitutional