Spain’s socialist regime strikes deal with secessionists to stay in power, sparking unrest

News & Politics

Spain has been roiled in recent days by the leftist regime’s controversial scheme to remain in power. Thousands of conservatives, federalists, and other patriots took to the streets of Madrid Thursday to protest Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s socialist-secessionist pact, which lawmakers and judicial groups have indicated violates not only Spanish law but the separation of powers.

What’s the background?

The 2023 Spanish general election in July saw the conservative People’s Party make massive gains in the Spanish parliament, leading all other parties — of which there are many — with over 33% of the popular vote. It also grabbed far more seats than the ruling party, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE). Despite these gains, the People’s Party still did not net enough seats in the Congress of Deputies to form a government, even with the support of other right-of-center parties such as the Vox Party.

In the months since, the country has been in a form of parliamentary limbo, facing the prospect of a snap election should interparty negotiations prove fruitless.

In a scramble to secure another term, Sánchez, leader of the PSOE, struck a deal with Catalan separatists. To ensure that conservatives couldn’t form a government and restore order, Sánchez promised Together for Catalonia, also known as Junts, that those who took part in the failed and violent secessionist attempt in 2017 would be granted amnesty — meaning fugitive Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and others who sought Spain’s breakup would get a free pass. In exchange, Junts need only pledge its support for Sánchez’s Spanish Socialist Workers Party.

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September poll showed that 70% of Spaniards opposed amnesty for the secessionists. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have taken part in anti-amnesty protests in the weeks since.

The Guardian reported that approximately 7,000 people gathered outside the PSOE headquarters in Madrid earlier this week to protest the deal. Some protesters called Sánchez a “criminal” and a “dictator.”

Sánchez’s socialist-secession union

Junts, the National Basque Party, and the Canarian Coalition confirmed Thursday that they’d back the leftist ruling party,
reported Reuters.

This will be enough to provide Sánchez with a majority in the Spanish parliament’s 350-member Congress of Deputies.

“We have managed to secure a majority that will make possible the investiture of Pedro Sanchez,” said Felix Bolanos, acting minister for parliamentary relations.

Concerning the deal with the separatist faction, Bolanos said, “We have very far apart and different positions, but this deal means we are doing our best to understand each other. Spain and Catalonia deserve that.”

Socialist officials have attempted to spin the desperate ploy to stay in power as an effort to address historical grievances,
reported the New York Times.

Santos Cerdán, a negotiator with the PSOE, said the deal was “a historic opportunity to resolve a conflict that could — and should — only be resolved politically.”

“Our aim is to open the way for a legislature that will allow us to progress and build an open and modern society and a better country,” added Cerdán.

Reuters reported that judges and conservative lawmakers have indicated that Sánchez’s promise of amnesty violates not only Spanish law but the separation of powers.

In addition to possibly flouting Spanish law, the PSOE will now be at the mercy of the Junts, which will continue to squeeze the socialists for concessions in exchange for its support.

Alberto Núñez Feijóo, leader of the conservative People’s Party, responded to the deal,
writing, “We are facing a challenge to our democracy that requires the reaction of Spanish democrats, without distinction of ideology. We will use all constitutional resources to counteract those that want to weaken it. Spanish democracy will prevail.”

“Sánchez has surrendered to the demands of the separatists. They want the resignation of the Spanish people, but they are not going to have it because Spain does not surrender,” said Feijóo.

Patriot protests

Spain’s two leading right-wing parties have called for “civil resistance” but stressed the need for peaceful demonstrations,
reported the Times (U.K.).

Feijóo, likely mindful of the events of 1936, when socialist-fostered instability drove the nation to civil war,
said, “The response to this attack on the foundations of our democracy must start from more democracy and must therefore be firm, but calm. I appeal to responsibility and that any mobilization be peaceful. Nothing and no one should break our coexistence.

The confirmation of the amnesty agreement sparked protests across the country.

While the right-wing protests appear to have been largely peaceful, leftists have not reciprocated.

On Thursday, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, one of the founders of the Vox Party and former People’s Party of Catalonia leader, was shot in the head in broad daylight. Vidal-Quadras has been a vocal critic of the amnesty agreement, having written Thursday on X, “The infamous pact between Sánchez and Puigdemont that crushes the rule of law in Spain and ends the separation of powers has already been agreed. Our Nation will thus cease to be a liberal democracy and become a totalitarian tyranny. We Spaniards will not allow it.”

He is reportedly in stable condition.

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