Everything was played by Pedro Sanchez by calling early elections last May after the crash in the regional polls. All in all, he is gambling and now at risk, but this time not purely his own political future, but hers social cohesion and the collateral “premium” of the Far Right.
One extreme controversial deal with Catalan separatists for parliamentary support against amnesty is coming to secure Pedro Sanchez a second term as prime minister.
The Socialist Labor Party (PSOE) joined hands with the party’s separatists Together for Catalonia (Junts) consenting to the adoption of an amnesty law for those involved in the 2017 independence referendum. Unexpectedly, next week the new minority government of the Socialist Party in partnership with Yolanda Diath’s left-wing Sumar alliance.
Amid the already polarized climate, and the growing protests against the amnesty law, came the news of shooting of the politician Alejo Vidal Cuadras, a longtime member of the People’s Party (PP) and one of the later founders of the far-right Vox. 78-year-old Vidal Cuantras, former head of the conservative faction in Catalonia, was shot in the face by motorcycle riders as he left his residence in Madrid. He is hospitalized in stable condition.
Motives have not been determined of the attack. He himself had clearly expressed his opposition to the controversial bill, stating in his post on X: “The infamous pact [..] which will crush the rule of law and end the separation of powers has been agreed. Thus our nation will cease to be a liberal democracy and become total tyranny. The Spanish people will not allow it.” Initial reports in each case state that police are investigating the incident as common crime.
Sanchez moves have make noise the spanish Rightthe traditional one base of the Socialists voters, but also the Brussels with the EU’s justice commissioner, Didier Reyders, being asked in writing by the Spanish caretaker government to provide details of the amnesty plan saying “serious concerns” were being raised.
Socialist veterans have also split their position. One of the loudest voices is that of the former prime minister Felipe Gonzalezwho publicly warned that amnesty plans threaten to “destroy social peace” in Spain giving persecuted Catalan politicians special treatment. Among those who will benefit from the law is the founder of Junts Carles Puigdemontformer leader of Catalonia who led the 2017 secession attempt and lives in self-imposed exile in Belgium to avoid prosecution in Spain.
The former prime minister of the People’s Party (PP), Jose Maria Athnarat the same time characterizes Pedro Sánchez as a “danger” for the Spanish Republic and the Constitution, while the current leader of the conservative faction Alberto Nunez Feijo declares the amnesty “democratic madness” and praises Sanchez’s “cynicism” to stay in power.
They are continuous in the last days protests with “Sanchez traitor” placards and “guide” the Far Right outside the headquarters of the Socialist Workers Party in Madrid. Thirty-nine people were injured, including 30 police officers, in clashes on Tuesday night with protesters, including members of the far-right Vox and fascist and neo-fascist groups.
The climate in Spain was already highly charged, and the controversial deal with which Pedro Sánchez looks set to accompany his new term is expected to bring even more polarization. The main issue is how the parliamentary work will proceed. The PSOE-Sumar government has only 152 MPs, meaning they will need the support of many parties to pass legislation.
Against predictions, Pedro Sanchez had managed to “hold on” for the past four years, but he did not need, as now, to rely on the support of Carles Puigdemont. To rule he also needs her “tolerance”. Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), the other and “softer” party on Junts that has already supported him during his first term.
It is included in the PSOE-Junts agreement commitment to stable governance, which suggests that the breakaway party will support the policies of the new coalition in Parliament. Such an arrangement would, in theory, remove a key element of uncertainty, especially in budget negotiations who consistently voted against the Junts during the last parliamentary term. However, it is not certain that the separatists will support all the legislative proposals of the new cabinet.
In any case, and while “reading” it Antonio Barrosodeputy director of research at political risk assessment firm Teneo, goal of the Socialists seems to be to “survive” the government at least for one two years.
The PSOE expects to be able to win the 2025 elections in Catalonia and eventually lead the government in the region. Sanchez would then use this potential victory to argue that his policies helped to “deflate” the separatist movement, hoping this would help him regain momentum.
If Pedro Sanchez eventually secures a second term, one of the key points on which European eyes will turn is who will take over Finance portfolio.
The minister Nadia Calvino is vying for the reins of the European Investment Bank and it is unknown whether he will join the new government. He is the person who played a decisive role in limiting and weakening of unorthodox economic proposals of Podemos and its credibility was a key asset vis-à-vis Brussels and investors. The appointment of someone with similar credentials, such as Social Security Secretary Jose Luis Escriva, would signal a continuation of this policy.
The People’s Party (PP) under Alberto Nunez Feijo he distracted them more votes in the early parliamentary elections in May, but as expected it didn’t work to gather absolute parliamentary majority and at the same time, the Spaniards blocked with their vote the planned coalition of the conservative faction with the far-right Vox, which would have led the nostalgics of Franco to the government for the first time since the end of the dictatorship, in 1975. The baton for the formation of a government passed by extension to Pedro Sanchez, but after the self-exiled, fugitive Carles Puigdemont had unexpectedly emerged as a regulator of the electoral landscape.