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Home » Content » The approval of Amnesty Law for Spanish politics: parallel lanes
The ruling on the Amnesty Law was approved yesterday in the Justice Committee of Congress by parties whose representation in the plenary would correspond to 177 votes in favour and 172 against, a picture of brutal fracture. The Statute of Catalonia provoked a similar, slightly less drastic division, as Congress approved it by 189 votes in favour and 154 against. In Barcelona's Ciutadella Park, in the Parliament, the Statute came out with the support of 120 MPs to 15 in 2005. Almost twenty years later, in the Catalan Parliament, 115 MPs support the Amnesty Law against 20 who reject it. Along parallel tracks, so many comings and goings after...

Lola García, 8 March 2024

Deputy Director of La Vanguardia

The Catalan ‘senyera’ and the Spanish flag fly in the Parliament of Catalonia. Xavier Cervera / Archive

The pact for the Amnesty Law  is experienced very differently depending on whether one looks at it from Madrid or Barcelona. During the independence process, Catalan and Spanish politics ran on parallel tracks and at different speeds, so that they never converged until the famous “train crash”. Now, despite the PSOE’s pacts with Junts and ERC, the feeling of living in different realities continues.

For Spanish politics, the approval of the Amnesty law is interpreted as a relief for Pedro Sánchez, since, having overcome the highest obstacle, the way is paved to agree on a state budget that will give the PSOE stability to govern for at least two more years. The socialists are thus sending out the message that their parliamentary majority is solid enough, despite the discreet fire they are taking for the Koldo case. It remains to be seen to what extent, thanks to this law, Junts will become more involved in the political game in Congress and whether the PP could benefit from it later on.

Today, 115 MPs in Parliament are in favour of the amnesty law and 20 are against it.

The amnesty law, on the other hand, distances any attempt to reconcile the current executive with the judiciary. It is clear that its wording seeks to avoid any loopholes for judges to prevent its application. The struggle between the two sides, which is far from over, is stark and is beginning to cross red lines whose pernicious effects can only be gauged in the future.

Seen from Catalonia’s perspective, the approval of this law marks the end of a political era that has dominated the last twelve years. The pro-independence supporters stress that this marks the end of “repression”, while the Catalan socialists see it as a pardon for the sake of “reconciliation and coexistence”. In any case, six years on, Catalonia is now settling the judicial effects of the failed attempt at independence, which affect hundreds of people directly, but also the political debate.

From 2010 to 2017, Catalans lived through a whirlwind of accelerated events that marked their identities in a very intense way. Until then, there had been areas of ambiguity or transversality in the externalisation of personal feelings about national identity. From 2012 onwards, few were able to avoid the requirement to define themselves in public. And this opened up more or less deep gaps. Entities and individuals from all walks of life could be classified according to their affinity with independence.

With the fiasco of 2017, all public debate in Catalonia was dominated by the preventive imprisonment, subsequent trial and finally conviction of the leaders of the ‘procés’. That a government should end up in prison is not a minor issue that could not fail to attract attention in Europe. It was the time of the yellow ribbons in the streets and the division into irreconcilable blocs in Catalan politics.

The pardons helped to ease the tension. The measure was approved thanks to pressure from ERC. And although Junts and the need for its votes in Congress have now been decisive in making the amnesty a reality, it is true that this step would hardly have been possible without the previous one. The two pro-independence parties are locked in an all-out confrontation, but both are shifting their strategies, at different speeds, towards greater pragmatism.

The ruling on the Amnesty Law was approved yesterday in the Justice Committee of Congress by parties whose representation in the plenary would correspond to 177 votes in favour and 172 against, a picture of brutal fracture. The Statute of Catalonia provoked a similar, slightly less drastic division, as Congress approved it by 189 votes in favour and 154 against. In Barcelona’s Ciutadella Park, in the Parliament, the Statute came out with the support of 120 MPs to 15 in 2005. Almost twenty years later, in the Catalan Parliament, 115 MPs support the Amnesty Law against 20 who reject it. Along parallel tracks, so many comings and goings after…

https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20240308/9544009/carriles-paralelos.html

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