Juan Carlos Merino, Madrid, June 30, 2021
“Spain knows that political audacity is needed”, claimed Pedro Sánchez, who has been convinced that, with the decision to grant pardons to the nine independence leaders condemned by the procés, “we are opening a new stage”, both in Catalonia as in the whole of Spain. Just a few hours after reopening the path of dialogue with Pere Aragonès, despite the enormous differences of departure, the President of the Government appeared this Wednesday before the plenary session of Congress to defend these grace measures and his new roadmap to try to open a new political scene in Catalonia that exceeds ten years of endless confrontation.
Sánchez wanted to “vindicate the spirit and the letter” of the Constitution to justify his position before Catalonia. And he has called to “recover the constituent spirit.” The same “integrating spirit” of the Magna Carta of 1978, which is based on “dialogue and harmony”. To “reach agreements from the discrepancy and always give the opportunity to dialogue and negotiation.” “The spirit of the Constitution lives on, concord is an enduring purpose,” he said, in the face of “the opponent’s denial.”
The president has thus wielded “democratic harmony”, against the “ballast” that, in his opinion, represents “political and territorial discord.” With constant references to the 1978 Constitution, Sánchez has insisted that his spirit should serve as a guide for his proposal for a “reunion” in Catalonia. “The only option was and is the agreement,” he stressed.
The pardon is a legal and fully constitutional measure, not only when it is adopted by the PP “
Pedro Sánchez President of the Government
Sánchez has also defended that “the power of pardon is fully constitutional.” And he recalled that since 1979 more than 18,100 pardons have been granted by “all democratic governments, without exception.” Thus, he has pointed out that the governments of José María Aznar granted more than 6,200 pardons, and those of Mariano Rajoy another 898, without questioning the judgments of the courts. “The pardon is a legal and fully constitutional measure, not only when adopted by the Popular Party, but when adopted by any legitimate government,” he has defended.
The socialist leader has justified these measures of grace as “a step that can effectively contribute to recovering coexistence in Catalonia.” Although he has recognized that “there are no definitive guarantees” that this will be the case. “But they can alleviate the division and facilitate dialogue and harmony within Catalan society,” he assured.
“The reunion must begin with determined steps”, defended Sánchez. “The Government has taken the first step,” he insisted. But, in the face of the political offensive deployed by the right-wing, the president has assured that “we are in the rule of law.” “That has not changed and it will not change,” he promised. But the judicial route, he has argued, does not alone serve to resolve a conflict that he has claimed is political.
“The time is now,” he said. After the events of 2017, and the reaction of 2019 to the judgment of the procés, when “it was essential to vindicate the authority of the Supreme Court”, the president has assured that at this moment in 2021 “the scenario is very different”, to try to promote “A reinforced and revitalized coexistence”.
After his appointment the day before with Aragonès, however, Sánchez stressed that “the Government of Spain will continue to act with the utmost firmness in respect of the laws.” “There will be no referendum on self-determination,” he stressed. Unless those who defend self-determination, he has warned, manage to add a majority of 3/5 of Congress to address a reform of the Constitution in that sense. As leader of the PSOE, in any case, he has assured that he will “never ever” accept the right of self-determination for Catalonia.
Sánchez has taken advantage of his appearance to demand that the Popular Party abandon “the path of rupture.” “We would like you to join the path of hope”, has summoned Pablo Casado. “We would overcome this challenge faster if we had the PP,” he warned. And he has assured the leader of the PP that “he continues to have my hand out to renew the constitutional bodies.”