Spanish Parliament Approves Amnesty for Catalan Independence Activists

This law is necessary so that Sanchez's socialist government can govern

The Catalonia amnesty law was passed by the Spanish parliament with 178 votes in favor and 172 against. This law is the basis of support for Pedro Sanchez’s government, which in November 2023, almost four months after the elections, found an agreement with Catalan separatists and the number of people needed to create an executive branch. The elections were won by the People’s Party of Núñez Feijoo, which, however, failed to establish a government.

The law was voted for by members of the PSOE (Sánchez’s Socialist Party), as the initiator of the law, the leftist Sumar, Basque nationalist (PNV and Bildu), and Catalan parties (leftist Republicans ERC and Junts por Catalunya). Opposing parties include the center-right (PP), right-wing (Vox), and Navarre Regional Party (UPN). The law provides amnesty for independent figures involved in the trials following the referendum – not sanctioned by Madrid – for Catalonia’s secession and the subsequent 2017 riots.

This is an extremely sensitive issue in Spain, where even some leftist representatives, as well as center-right parties and the judiciary, oppose amnesty for a referendum that aimed to attack the Spanish constitution. Even the majority of the population is not in favor of this law.

The approved bill is the second on this issue, the first was rejected by the Junts por Catalunya formation itself, as the PSOE rejected some proposed amendments.

The law provides amnesty for more than 300 pro-independence activists accused of various crimes, as well as the return and electability of Junts por Catalunya party leader Carles Puigemont, the organizer of the 2017 referendum, who now lives in exile in Belgium.

Now the ball goes to the Senate, where the PP People’s Party has an absolute majority, then it will probably have to go to the Constitutional Court, and maybe to the Court of Justice of the European Union. In short, the process is still a long one.