The Council of Ministers has already granted partial pardons to the nine independence leaders imprisoned since November 2017 for the you process. A political decision to which the Government has given the greatest entity and which it has been explaining for weeks. Even so, the cabinet meeting has lasted longer than expected because all the ministers have intervened to mark a position. For Sánchez it was important that all the members of the Executive were present, so some, such as Vice President Yolanda Díaz or the Minister of Education, Isabel Celaá, had to modify their agendas. The president has subsequently appeared on the steps of Moncloa to explain the main reasons that have led him to pardon Oriol Junqueras, five former councilors, the former president of the Parliament and the leaders of Òmnium and ANC in an institutional statement without questions that has barely lasted five minutes. All of them are political arguments, as he has made clear as soon as he begins by ensuring that the Government "does not question" the Supreme Court ruling. "We have made this decision because it is the best for Catalonia, because it is the best for Spain and the most consistent with the spirit of harmony and coexistence of the Constitution," said Sánchez.
And now what: the Supreme Court will liquidate the sentences of the pardoned prisoners and in a matter of days they will be free
The search for a solution to the political conflict in Catalonia is the main reason that Sánchez finds for granting the grace measure that will entail the practically immediate release of the independence leaders, although the penalty of disqualification is maintained for their convictions for sedition and embezzlement , and the pardon can be reversed in the event that they commit serious crimes again within a period of between three and six years, depending on each convicted person. In the nine files, one for each pardoned, the Government uses public utility as one of the reasons for the governmental pardon for the improvement of coexistence in a united Spain and is largely based on the current normalization of relations between the Government and the Generalitat in recent months, a radical change with respect to 2017. They also consider that rejecting the pardon would deepen the fracture.
"The reasons of public utility that motivate this decision have to do with the need to reestablish coexistence and harmony within Catalan society and in Spanish society as a whole," the president reiterated. Sánchez is convinced that getting the nine independence leaders out of prison goes beyond the personal question of each one of them and that it will mean a message of concord for "hundreds of thousands of people" who either sympathize with his ideas, or else they show "solidarity" with their situation "or that they consider that they have served" enough punishment ".
As he has done in previous days, Sánchez has recognized that the pardons will not change the "ideas" of the independentistas and that he does not expect it either, but he has been sure that they do open a new horizon. "On this day we look to the future with more optimism. Today, with this action, we want to open a new stage of dialogue of reunion, and close one of division and confrontation," said the president, who reiterated that Catalonia must remain united to the rest of Spain. "Spanish society wants a European Catalonia, prosperous, plural, supportive and with a high degree of self-government. Catalonia without Spain would neither be European, nor would it be prosperous nor would it be plural. That is our conviction. Spain without Catalonia simply would not be Spain. Catalonia without the rest of Spain would not be Catalonia ", he pointed out.
But just as the Government makes a gesture to the independence movement, Moncloa expects a reaction from the Government in tune with this new stage. "Spanish democracy today demonstrates its greatness, and it is a good opportunity for those who question it to demonstrate theirs as well," the president asserted. "Now is the time for politics, to turn the page. It is time to return to the path that should never have been abandoned," said Sánchez, who has warned, however, that "difficulties" will be encountered along the way. "But it is worth trying," declared the president, who believes that this is the best way for the future of Catalans, Spaniards and "the entire society." "Now is the time to concentrate all our forces on improving the lives of our people in these times of difficulties and hope," he concluded.