Misc 18/01/2021

Sanchez will avoid dealing with the pardons before May elections

The cancellation of 14 February changes Spanish government's plans, which wants to keep the debate on pardons out of the election campaign

Mariona Ferrer / Marc Toro
1 min
Quim Forn, Jordi Cuixart, Oriol Junqueras i Raül Romeva davant de Lledoners en una imatge d’arxiu.

Madrid / BarcelonaAt the end of 2020 Spanish president Pedro Sánchez opened the door to a pardon for political prisoners and postponing the reform of the crime of sedition. "We must overcome disastrous times," he said from the Moncloa during the assessment of the first year of the legislature. But the third wave of the coronavirus and the government's decision to postpone the Catalan elections until 30 May have completely disrupted the Spanish government's plans for Catalonia.With the process at a bureaucratic standstill, the executive hoped it would not have to voice its opinion until after the 14 February elections.

However, after the elections have been postponed until May, Sánchez will have a harder time dealing with the issue before the elections. In any case, the Socialists believe that it is vital to divert the Independence bid from the electoral pre-campaign and that for this reason pardons for jailed pro-independence leaders have been kicked into the long grass. The Minister of Justice, Juan Carlos Campo, in an interview on Radio 4 and La 2, considered it "difficult" to resolve the pardon of the political prisoners before the Catalans vote, even if that is in May.

The Madrid press has speculated in recent days that the postponement of the elections could allow the imprisoned pro-independence leaders to run in the May elections. But the Spanish government believes that the deadlines are impossible to meet and recalls that some reports are yet to be completed. ERC also dismiss such rumours: they don't know what may happen, but they strongly doubt pardons will arrive before the elections. Moreover, they are convinced that pardons will only be partial: the politicians would allowed out of prison but in no case to stand as candidates, reports Quim Bertomeu.