“This is the position that we have defended at United We Can since 2017. It has not always been the government’s position. We continue to think the same thing.” This is how the spokesman for the confederal group, Pablo Echenique, has defended the support of his political space for the approval of pardons to the prisoners of the procés from the moment in which the events that ended with the conviction of Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sánchez, Jordi Cuixart and the rest of the political and social leaders of the independence movement in Catalonia. A claim also made by other leaders of United We Can, such as Jauma Asens, who in an interview with elDiario.es this same weekend he pointed out: “The PSOE said that the conflict in Catalonia was one of coexistence. Now it assumes that there are political roots and that the solution has to be political.”
Sánchez raises the pardons to the pro-independence leaders and the right anticipates a judicial war
“The territorial solution has our brand,” the president of the confederal group pointed out to this medium in the same interview. A few days before, the leader of Catalunya en Comú and mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, also emphasized the change of position of the Government partner, both at the municipal and state level, to get closer to the theses of United We Can. “I’m happy that the PSOE move and send messages that pardons are imminent, “he said at a press conference with the third vice president and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz.
The leader of the political space herself supported the measure, although in this case she was supporting what the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, had said that day. And he added: “The moment of politics has arrived, with capital letters. We should never have reached this situation.” His predecessor in office, Pablo Iglesias, also defended the measure of grace. “It does not question the facts judged, but the Government understands that for reasons of harmony and general interest it may be good to set them free,” he explained in 2019 in an interview on TVE.
Iglesias also appealed on several occasions as a justification for the pardons that the prisoners themselves, as well as their parties, rejected the pardons and preferred other options such as an amnesty law that would not apply only to the 13 convicted leaders, but also to the fled of the Spanish justice or other people who have also gone through the courts for the events that occurred in Catalonia in the autumn of 2017 and who would not benefit from the hypothetical pardon.
Another example of the many that exists is that of the current head of En Comú Podem in the Parliament of Catalonia, Jéssica Albiach, who pointed out in 2019, after hearing the Supreme Court ruling: “Until the prisoners are released we will not be able to have a democratic and serene debate. ”
But the path of pardons is not the only one that United Podemos, or its allies, has defended in response to the territorial conflict that exists between Catalonia and the State. Also in relation to the prisoners, En Comú Podem has pushed to reform the crime of sedition in the Penal Code. Jaume Asens himself presented in 2020, already with the coalition government in motion, a proposal in this sense that would put Spanish legislation at the European level. The idea had already been raised previously in very similar terms. After that summer of 2020, the Minister of Justice, José Manuel Campo, assured that said reform was part of the Executive’s legislative program, although he did not establish an approval calendar.
This Monday the newspaper The country it states that the Government wants to speed up the reform of sedition to reinforce pardons, with the idea of reducing the penalties provided for this crime. An idea that also Asens expressed this weekend in elDiario.es: “The pardon is a way to advance the effects of this reform.”
United We also always defended the “dialogue” between the governments and the main Spanish and Catalan parties as a formula to resolve the open conflict. An option that was rejected on both sides when the tension was higher. Catalonia has always been one of the main political obstacles to understanding between Unidos Podemos and its allies and the PSOE. It was in 2016. But also later, when Pedro Sánchez regained control over the game after the primaries that he beat Susana Díaz.
The dialogue table was finally constituted at the beginning of 2020, after the coalition government of PSOE and United We Can was formed.
But the initial proposal of Podemos to resolve the conflict in Catalonia has already been raised since its foundation: the agreed referendum. In fact, in the 2015 general elections, in which Pablo Iglesias achieved his best results as a candidate, the party contemplated five major constitutional reforms. These included collecting “the right to decide”, as a formula for the constitutional framework of “plurinational Spain”. “Catalonia is a nation and has to have a different constitutional framework. We are in favor of a referendum in Catalonia,” Iglesias said. on the same night of December 20, 2015.
In his recent inauguration speech, the President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, proposed an agreed referendum as a way to “get out of the blockade”.