Former president accused of inciting unrest

Former president accused of inciting unrest

AMNESTY: Jose Maria Aznar called on Spain’s population to protest against separatists’ demands Photo credit: CC/Esperanza Aguirre

CATALAN politicians imprisoned for their part in the independence “Proces” received pardons last year for the crimes of sedition and misuse of public funds.

This was not well received in all quarters, including a hefty number of socialist voters, but there was worse to come once the Catalan separatist parties began calling for an amnesty in return for supporting Pedro Sanchez’s investiture.

This is pencilled in for next October but it’s anyone’s guess whether Sanchez will hold his nerve, because what Junts per Catalunya wants is a very big ask indeed.

Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya also wants an amnesty but is in favour of backing Sanchez now and enjoying the amnesty later.

Despite its name, which translates as Republican Left of Catalunya, the party and its leaders are paradoxically less radical than Junts, whose roots can be traced back to the now extinct centre-right party, Convergencia i Unio.

An amnesty applies to a person or persons subject to prosecution but not yet convicted, and the pro-independence parties are hoping for absolution that covers “all acts of political intent going back to January 1 2013, whatever their result, and whether these are classed as offences or punishable administrative conduct.”

This, naturally, is a Get Out of Jail Free card for Carles Puigdemont, the regional president who declared an independent Catalan republic on October 27 but fled to Belgium three days later.

Indignant Jose Maria Aznar from the Partido Popular, who was president of the government between 1996 and 2004, exhorted the Spanish to demonstrate against the amnesty.

He appealed to the public to voice their rejection with the “¡Basta ya!” (That’s enough!) chant that was previously heard at demonstrations against ETA when the Basque terrorist group’s violence was at its height.

The PP responded to Aznar’s call by announcing “a major event” in Madrid over the September 23-24 weekend, timed to precede Alberto Nuñez Feijoo’s stab at an investiture.

“The PP will stand alongside all citizens who want to demonstrate there,” the PP’s parliamentary spokeswoman Cuca Gamarra pledged.

The protest would demonstrate Spain’s rejection of a possible pact between Pedro Sanchez and Puigdemont, she added.

Gamarra also announced that the PP would be present at another event in Barcelona on October 8, organised by the Societat Civil Catalana (SCC) an anti-independence civic group which also opposes the amnesty.

Isable Diaz Ayuso, the outspoken and hardline PP president of the Madrid region, has already announced that she will be attending, although Feijoo’s presence has not yet been confirmed.

Vox said the party would be there in Barcelona on October 8, but would not take part in the Madrid event if it turns out to be an exclusively PP occasion.

Parliamentary spokesman Pepa Millan nevertheless stressed that Vox would go to all possible demonstrations “against this attempt at subverting constitutional law.”

The PSOE’s parliamentary spokesman Patxi Lopez meanwhile accused the PP of inciting civic unrest and confrontation while the Moncloa reproached Aznar’s “coup” mindset.

Isabel Rodriguez, government spokeswoman as well as Territorial Policies minister, called on Feijoo to “oblige” the ex-president to retract.

“They’re  not going to silence us,” was Feijoo’s only reply.  “It’s immoral to be prepared to concede everything in order to come to power.”

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at


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