25/05/2021

Trial of pardons for Sánchez

2 min
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
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The Spanish prime minister seems determined to approve partial pardons for political prisoners so that they can be released before the end of summer. This is clear from his statements in Brussels, where he was preparing public opinion for a decision that will cause a political earthquake in Spain: "It is important to look to the future, learn from mistakes and be aware that among the fundamental values of the Constitution there is neither revenge nor vengeance, but dialogue and respect for the Constitution". In fact, the Spanish government has already made it clear, in relation to Catalonia, that everything within the law could be studied, and the granting of pardons is a power that any executive has and, most importantly, that all of them have used.

It is clear that the approval of pardons, which are a question of justice, is only a first step and does not resolve the underlying judicial problem, which are the cases that affect nearly 3,000 people. But it will be an important step. So much so that it is foreseeable that the right will mobilise and raise political tension, as it will be interpreted as a concession to the pro-independence supporters and, as such, a betrayal. The PP has already warned that it will take the decision to the Supreme Court in the hope that it will reverse it, as already happened in 2013 with the pardon of a kamikaze driver. Vox, surely, will go further and call demonstrations to pressure the government and create an unbreathable climate.

PSOE and Unidas Podemos's coalition government will need to resist this pressure, which will be especially intense in Díaz Ayuso's Madrid, and to be clear so that the population understands that with the political and social leaders of the independence movement in jail it is impossible to start to de-escalate the conflict and return it to the path of dialogue and negotiation. At the same time, pardons must become the starting signal for the beginning of dialogue with the State, the cotton wool test that will indicate that Sánchez and his executive are willing to take steps.

Catalonia will have to be able to recognise the courage of the Spanish government and maintain the demand for amnesty. The resolution of the political conflict must come through the end of repression and citizens' voice being heard, two solutions that should be allowed within the Spanish legal corpus. The main obstacle, as always since the beginning of the Independence bid, lies in the deep state, in structures such as the judiciary, which has recently decided to adopt a clearly political and politicised role, thus lowering the quality of Spanish democracy.

Sánchez will have to show that he is willing to undertake a profound reform of the State, including the judiciary, if he wants not only to make things easier with Catalonia, but also to make his progressive programme a reality. The road to dialogue will be tortuous and full of pitfalls, but the most important thing is to start it with a gesture that creates a minimum climate of trust. And this gesture would have to be the pardons.

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