Spain Passes Law on Amnesty for Separatists

The measure received a “symbolic” veto in the Senate, where the government has a minority. Now divisive Carles Puigdemont may return to Spain from voluntary exile

Pedro Sanchez

The Congress of Deputies of the Spanish Parliament today approved a law providing amnesty for those convicted in the case of separatists from Catalonia.

Socialist Pedro Sanchez, President of the Spanish government, won a vote of confidence in November 2023 by promising this law. In July, the right-wing People’s Party won the election with 33.06% of the vote, but failed to form a majority. Then, coming in second with 31.68% of the vote, Sanchez received a mandate to form the government. The Socialists gained support from the leftists of the Sumar movement and various pro-independence parties, most notably Carles Puigdemont’s Together for Catalonia party, which had 7 deputies. The condition was the passage of an amnesty law for those who sought Catalonia’s secession in 2017. At that time, a referendum was held in the region, contrary to Madrid’s position.

Now, by a vote of 178 to 172, the amnesty has passed. The lower house overrode the Senate’s veto. This paves the way for the return to Spain of former Catalan head Carles Puigdemont, who has been in “voluntary exile” in Belgium since 2017. The Spanish Attorney General then charged him with insurrection, sedition, and embezzlement.