The path of pardons

Ayuso retracts on the pardons: "King Felipe VI is not an accomplice of anything"

Casado had corrected her by warning that Sánchez is the only one responsible for the pardons

4 min
The president of the PP, Pablo Casado, and the president of the Comunitat de Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, during the demonstration against the pardons to political prisoners this Sunday

MadridPablo Casado has bluntly rectified Isabel Díaz Ayuso for having put King Felipe VI in the middle of the controversy over the pardons. And the President of the Community of Madrid has had to retract her statement. "What will the King do from now on, will he sign the pardons? Will they make him an accomplice to all this?", she said this Sunday. She has ended up rectifying the situation on Monday afternoon after having raised a storm. "Felipe VI is not an accomplice in anything. Of course, all the blame lies with the President of the Spanish government", she has amended in statements to the media after the round of consultations with the President of the Assembly of Madrid, Eugenia Carballedo. "The King was the voice and the hope of all Spaniards on October 3rd. I am hurt by the compromise to which he will be subjected", she said.

Ayuso's words on Sunday in Colón have forced the PP to correct the insinuation that the monarch could be complicit in the measure of pardons for prisoners. "The responsibility corresponds exclusively to Sánchez and his government, as established by our political system, a parliamentary monarchy exercised impeccably by Felipe VI as head of state. Society clearly knows who the protagonists of the sad pact of the pardon are. There are no other accomplices than them, in this act that does not close but opens a process of constitutional mutation to rob the Spaniards of their sovereignty", Casado said.

The Zarzuela does not want to fuel a debate that leads nowhere and will not react to the words of Ayuso. Sources consulted by ARA affirm that it is "logical" for the King to sign the pardons when they arrive because his constitutional functions are clear, and they do not see the need to clarify the words from the President of Madrid with a statement. "He is doing nothing more than being faithful to his constitutional functions", monarchist sources have also pointed out to ACN, and have stressed that the signing of the decrees is "pure Constitution".

Throughout the morning, several members of the leadership had already begun to undo the progress. The spokeswoman in Congress, Cuca Gamarra, and the Deputy Secretary of Communication, Pablo Montesinos, agreed on Monday that the role of the monarch is "fixed" by the Constitution. "The only one responsible [for the pardons] is called Pedro Sánchez and his government", Gamarra has made clear in an interview with TVE. "The King has his role described in the Spanish Constitution and he is exercising it in an exemplary manner", Montesinos insisted whilst being interviewed on SER Catalunya. PP has had to go out to clarify Ayuso's words, which made the demonstrations on Sunday even more difficult for the party leader, Pablo Casado. Angered by some demonstrators and having Santiago Abascal received with the cries of "president, president" in the flagship square of the triple right, Casado saw how the President of Madrid put her foot in her mouth and provoked a wave of criticism from the ranks of Vox and Cs.

The leader of Ciudadanos, Inés Arrimadas, has described Ayuso's comment as an "exorbitant error" and has asked her to rectify it. In an interview on Antena 3, she insisted that his signature "is a due act, a constitutional responsibility that he cannot choose whether to do or not". And as Vox's leader in the Spanish capital, Rocio Monasterio, has told Onda Madrid, she "would never speak in these terms" about the King. She has criticized the left for now coming out "in defense" of the head of state.

The Spanish government takes advantage of the situation to charge against the PP

The Spanish government has also taken advantage of Ayuso's slip to charge the PP. In an interview with RAC1, the Minister of Territorial Policy and Public Administration, Miquel Iceta, has been among the first to ask Pablo Casado to clarify what Ayuso meant this Sunday and if her words "represent the position of the PP". The minister has also said that pardons are not on the agenda of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday. In any case, he has assured that they are "very close".

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, has also been critical of Ayuso, and said in an interview with TVE that Ayuso had "made a mistake" by making these statements at a time "of political tension". Finally, the flamboyant winner of the PSOE primaries in Andalusia and Mayor of Seville, Juan Espadas, has contributed to the reproaches and has branded Ayuso's statements "as out-of-place". "I save my comments," he said in an interview with RNE, from where he has also defended the granting of pardons. From the PSC, the party's spokeswoman in Parliament, Alícia Romero, has also criticized Ayuso for "putting the Crown and the King in the spotlight" and has demanded a rectification from Casado.

Podemos: "A step closer to the republic"

Podemos, meanwhile, has chosen to be ironic in his reaction to the words of the President of Madrid, and his spokesman, Rafa Mayoral, has "thanked" her. "With her statements we are one step closer to the republic. We will work to make it solidary and plurinational", he tweeted. From his official account, the purple party has accused PP and Vox of "not having scruples" and wanting to achieve their goals "through whichever means necessary". "They do not mind even putting their admired King on the ropes as long as they achieve their goals, even if they go against democracy", says Podemos. The party's leader in Congress, Jaume Asens, has warned that if the King choses not to sign the decree he would have to abdicate, because he would be committing a "constitutional illegality". "Ayuso's Spain is so narrow that not even the King fits", added the spokesman for Catalunya en Comú, Joan Mena.

The Deputy Secretary General of ERC, Marta Vilalta, on Monday.

ERC pressures Sánchez

And in Catalonia, the outcome of the issue is also awaited with expectations. The party that is more involved is ERC, which is certain that there will be pardons but is waiting for them to become effective. The Republicans want the issue to be resolved as soon as possible, since the new President, the Republican Pere Aragonès, wants to begin the stage of dialogue with the State. This Monday, the Deputy Secretary General of ERC, Marta Vilalta, has pressed Sanchez to make a decision: "It would have to end the speculation. If they want to give them, give them, but stop playing with the dates," she concluded.