Spain: the Government manages to approve its amnesty law for Catalan separatists

The law would forgive politicians who broke the law in 2017 to hold a referendum and declare independence in Catalonia.

The Spanish Congress of Deputies voted this Thursday in favor of lifting the Senate's veto on the amnesty law for Catalan separatist politicians who carried out an institutional coup d'état in 2017. With this vote, which resulted in 177 votes in favor, one more than necessary, the Cortes fully approved the law,

The vote on the amnesty law is the last step of the Catalan secessionist process, which in 2017 organized an illegal referendum from the institutions of the autonomous region without legal guarantees or validity. After this, the regional government declared a short-lived independence. The attack on the Spanish Constitution and current legality led those mainly responsible for the institutional coup d'état to the courts and to jail in most cases. Not in that of Carles Puigdemont, former president of the Generalitat of Catalonia, who managed to flee to Belgium hidden in the trunk of a civilian vehicle.

The amnesty law is necessary for the government coalition led by Pedro Sánchez's Socialist Party, in company with the left-wing Sumar party, to remain in power. After the 2023 elections, the left managed to repeat the formation of the Government despite the fact that the center-conservative Popular Party won the elections as the most voted list.

However, the coalition needs the support of the two Catalan separatist parties represented in the national Congress. For this reason, the opposition accuses the Government of having designed a law with the aim of buying the votes of the separatists in Congress.

Despite this, there is nothing to indicate that these separatist parties, Junts and Esquerra Republicana, will continue to support the Sánchez Government in a stable manner throughout the entire legislature. These supports could be played in the autonomous community of Catalonia in which the Socialist Party won the elections this May. After this last electoral event on May 12 in Catalonia, the separatists have not achieved a parliamentary majority for the first time since their secessionist journey and the possibility of governing the region is moving away.

Appeal against the law

Before the law, opposition parties are preparing to appeal the amnesty in court. Although the Spanish Constitutional Court initially endorsed the text, the Popular Party and the conservative party Vox will appeal.

The application of the amnesty law is not absolute either. The open judicial cases remain as such and each will have to individually examine whether the amnesty law applies to each of the specific cases.