Parliamentary elections
Politics 16/02/2021

Spanish government downplays fact pro-independence parties obtained 51% of votes and maintains referendum is "unconstitutional".

Unidas Podemos will abstain on ERC's motion in favour of self-determination

2 min
The First Vice-President of the Spanish Government, Carmen Calvo, at a press conference after the Council of Ministers

MadridThe pro-independence movement still has to agree on what it means to have obtained 51% of the votes in Sunday's elections, but for the Spanish government it does not change anything. The first vice president, Carmen Calvo, has downplayed the success of parties that defend Catalonia should have its own state and has warned that the referendum of self-determination "is not in the framework of the Constitution nor legality". "It doesn't matter what percentage a party gets in a territorial election in relation to an issue that is not constitutional or legal," she said at the press conference after the Council of Ministers.

Calvo has made these statements on the same day that the Spanish Parliament is debating a motion presented by Esquerra in favour of holding a referendum. "We are the party of dialogue and we will move when the next government is formed," said the PSOE spokeswoman in the lower house, Adriana Lastra, who announced that her group will vote against the proposal of the Republicans. This afternoon will again demonstrate the distance between the Spanish government and the independence movement in relation to this issue. Even Unidas Podemos, which has announced that it will abstain. In the words of its leader in the Spanish Parliament, Jaume Asens, "it does not seem serious" that this initiative is now being taken to the lower house when a new government has not yet been formed in Catalonia, nor the negotiating table been convened.

In this sense, he has defended the convening of this table and has asked to work in a "discreet" way instead of looking for headlines. Podemos defends the referendum of self-determination, but does not clarify if in a negotiating table between the Spanish and Catalan governments they would differ from the PSOE and would also present it as the solution to the Catalan conflict. In fact, from Catalonia, Jéssica Albiach has admitted during the campaign that the referendum is not "urgent" and at this point there is not the necessary correlation of forces to move it forward. On the other hand, Más País and Compromís will vote in favour of the initiative of the republicans. The Valencian deputy Joan Baldoví has remarked that if it has been possible to hold a referendum in Scotland and Canada, the problem in Catalonia would also have to end with a vote at the ballot box. Along the same lines, the PNV will also vote in favour, as its spokesman, Aitor Esteban, has announced.

PSOE-ERC relations

With the unknown as to how the negotiations in Catalonia will develop, Moncloa has wanted to highlight its distance with ERC and maintains the logical distance that has been experienced during the campaign. When asked about the state of relations with the Republicans after 14 February, Calvo assured that "it will be the PSC, as the winner, who will establish the lines of work with ERC, the second party in votes in the elections". The Spanish vice-president has limited herself to underlining her interest in maintaining "loyal relations between the state government and the Catalan government". "As with other parliamentary groups, we will try to take care of this relationship," she added.

Calvo did not want to make any gestures in relation to pardons of political prisoners. "They are being processed," she answered when asked about the procedure, which is currently in the hands of the State Attorney. However, last week he asked the Supreme Court to ask the Court of Auditors whether the condemned have satisfied the economic amounts embezzled before taking a position on the granting of pardons.