Politics 09/06/2021

Salvador Illa openly defends the pardoning of political prisoners to encourage dialogue

The leader of the PSC foresees that the Moncloa makes a decision within a month at the latest and believes that the sedition reform could benefit exiles

3 min
The leader of the PSC and none of the opposition, Salvador Illa, during the interview to Tv3

Salvador Illa foresees that the Moncloa will resolve the issue of pardoning political prisoners within a month and believes that the sedition reforms could benefit the exiles. "These pardons must be given", he affirmed, both as leader of the PSC in Parliament and head of the opposition in an interview with TV3 and Catalunya Ràdio. He is the first socialist to openly defend the pardon for the imprisoned pro-independence leaders. In accordance with his argument, the favourable decision of the Moncloa would be to allow the "reconstruction of coexistence", "cohesion" and "open a new era for Catalonia". It is for this reason that he has requested that the decision not be delayed. "It does not seem logical to me to drag out this decision for too many weeks", he says, adding that his prediction - once all the mandatory reports have been issued - is that the government of Pedro Sánchez will resolve the issue in "a matter of weeks or a month at the latest". The fundamental idea of the state executive is in fact to settle the issue before the summer holidays.

Illa has admitted that he understands that many Catalan and Spanish citizens may have "reservations" regarding the granting of pardons and that this makes them distrust the Spanish government. However, he has asked them for their "faith": "We need to take decisive steps to open a sincere, open and loyal dialogue. And the pardon is a step in this direction", he insisted. The leader of the PSC has reaffirmed his rejection of an amnesty stating that "it does not fit into our framework of coexistence". He has also been sympathetic to the situation of those in exile, despite making it clear that he does not recognise this term. "I understand the situation they are going through", he said. In view of this, and referring to the sedition crime reform being worked on by the Ministry of Justice, he spoke of "adjusting" certain criminal offenses. Illa implied that the amendment of the Penal Code could come to favour the return of the ex president of the Generalitat Carles Puigdemont and the rest of the pro-independence leaders in exile. Even so, he has recalled that - unlike the pardons - this is a decision that must be approved by a majority vote in Parliament.

Junqueras' letter: "A step in the right direction"

The change of discourse and tone of the socialists regarding the future of prisoners also has to do with the pragmatic turn of the ERC and, above all, with the arrival of their party leader to the Generalitat. Illa, however, described the letter published this Monday in ARA by Oriol Junqueras, president of ERC, as a "step in the right direction". The letter not only endorsed the pardons but also shelved unilateralism. A gesture that both PSC and PSOE have long claimed as a sign of willingness to begin a dialogue. Reiterating his desire to work for the "reunion" of Catalans and Catalonia with the rest of Spain, the socialist leader linked Junqueras' words to this objective. "I welcome them positively", he said.

The positioning of the ex-vice president, on the contrary, has caused turmoil for JxCat and CUP, which have criticised the questioning of unilateralism, as the two parties have expressed in two articles this Tuesday, also in this newspaper. Illa has not referred to these discrepancies, but has reviewed the agreements laid out to the members of the Generalitat from its alternative Government, presented last Sunday. The idea, already communicated to the president Pere Aragonès in Parliament, is to reach out to Esquerra in terms of management, in the case that the independence cohesion falters again. And, incidentally, to turn the page of the Catalan independence bid.