Politics 29/05/2021

PSC closes ranks with Sánchez over pardons and charges against the right-wing campaign

Opposition leader Salvador Illa will soon present an "alternative government" in Catalonia and will not grant Aragonès any day of grace

3 min
The first secretary of the PSC and minister, Miquel Iceta, yesterday with the socialist candidate, Salvador Illa, to the national council.

BarcelonaThe PSC has held this Saturday its first national council since Catalonia has a new Government of ERC and JxCat, but the main theme of the conclave has focused on an issue that is on the table of the Spanish government: the pardons of political prisoners. The Catalan socialists have closed ranks with the position of the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, who has shown himself in favour of granting them partially, and have harshly criticised the campaign that the triple right wing of PP, Cs and Vox has already launched against the granting of this measure of grace.

The national council was led by Miquel Iceta and Salvador Illa, once again highlighting the two-way relationship that is currently leading Catalan socialism. Iceta, first secretary of the PSC and Sánchez's minister of Territorial Policy, wanted to express his full support for the Spanish president, given that not all of the PSOE is united around the pardons. There are socialist barons who are openly against it. To prevent the same thing from happening in Catalonia, the Catalan minister has asked PSC militants to "support all the decisions that are taken" on this issue. For him, pardons are the best way to return Catalonia to the path of social and political stability. "Not only do we want to say that we are one people, but we want to make it a reality", he proclaimed.

Salvador Illa, who until recently was also part of Sánchez's cabinet and is now the leader of Catalan socialism in the Parliament, has spoken along the same lines. For him, the decision to pardon responds "to the responsibility, conviction and courage" of the PSOE, and has warned that, in any case, pardons will never be total but partial - they will eliminate prison sentences but not those of disqualification. Both Illa and Iceta have defended the pardons, but have not spared criticism of the pro-independence forces, which have been accused of dividing Catalan society. "They have been the worst 10 years of the last 300 in the history of Catalonia", said the former Minister of Health.

Since Sánchez has shown that he is willing to grant these partial pardons, the Spanish triple right has begun a campaign of mobilisation against it that, in some ways, is reminiscent of what the PP did 15 years ago against the self-rule Statute of Catalonia, which would end up being cut by the Constitutional Court. Given these similarities, Iceta has warned the PP that the last time they collected signatures - as they want to do now - against an issue related to Catalonia, it became one of the triggers of the Catalan independence bid and it all ended in "illegal referendums and a unilateral declaration of independence". Thus, he has asked the right wing to rethink its strategy: "Those who truly love the people of Spain do not confront them".

A shadow cabinet

Inspired by an event that is common in Anglo-Saxon politics -and that was also put into practice by former president Pasqual Maragall when he opposed Jordi Pujol-, Illa has announced that in the next few days he will announce his "alternative government of Catalonia". In other words, a shadow cabinet that will oppose the measures of the new executive of ERC and JxCat. The socialist has warned that he does not intend to give these two parties the 100 days of grace that traditionally every government asks for to be able to settle in office. "Neither 100 days, nor 50, nor 30, nor 20, nor 3. Zero days of grace for this government that has already been governing for five years and has led Catalonia to its worst decline in 100 years".

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