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Sánchez Waits on Pm News – or Else Spain Will Face Another Election

The next month will be crucial for Spaniards to know whether incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has enough support to continue in his role or whether the country will have to head to the polls once again.

Partido Popular leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo failed in the second parliamentary vote last Friday to become Spain’s new prime minister. He obtained 172 votes in favour and 177 against, falling short of the 176 to form a Government, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.

Sánchez (PSOE/S&D) needs the support of Catalonia’s two main separatist forces, the liberal-conservative Junts Per Catalunya (JxCat, Together for Catalonia) and the left-wing party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC, Republican Left of Catalonia).

In exchange for their support, they are asking Sánchez for an amnesty law for those involved in the secessionist attempt of 2017 and the holding of a referendum on self-determination.

The president of ERC, Oriol Junqueras, reiterated on Saturday (29 October) that the amnesty “is not an endpoint in the process of national liberation” of Catalonia but “quite the opposite”, as it represents “one more essential step” towards independence.

Among the latest demands made by JxCat and ERC is that their leaders prosecuted for the 2017 secessionist attempt should be able to return to public office.

JxCat wants its leader, Carles Puigdemont, on the run from Spanish justice since 2017 and is currently in Belgium, to be able to return to politics in Spain, while ERC is calling for the same for Oriol Junqueras.

Mounting pressure on Sánchez

Both Sánchez and his possible future “number 2”, the leader of the progressive platform Sumar, Yolanda Díaz, has reiterated since the snap general elections of 23 July that the Executive will always negotiate within the framework of the Constitution.

Madrid is more inclined to approve an amnesty – or a similar or comparable legal formula – although the sensitive issue of the referendum seems an insurmountable red line.

To further increase the pressure, JxCat and ERC managed last week to get the Catalan regional Parliament to pass a resolution demanding all parties not to back Sánchez if he does not commit to a referendum.

“The Catalan Parliament is in favour of the political forces represented in Parliament not supporting the investiture of a future Spanish government that does not commit itself to work to make the conditions for the holding of a referendum effective”,  reads the text of the resolution.

However, despite the – apparent – unity, the ideological rivalries between the two main Catalan separatist parties complicate negotiations. Since they do not form a homogenous bloc with which the PSOE and Sumar can easily negotiate, their political differences do not facilitate agreements.

And the clock is ticking.