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Spain’s Vox Urges Supreme Court to Block Government Formation Over Amnesty

Spain’s far-right party Vox on Tuesday petitioned the Supreme Court to block Spain’s upcoming government formation vote, which Pedro Sanchez and his left-wing coalition are expected to win.

Outside the top court, the party’s leader Santiago Abascal said he hoped the judges would use “all the tools at their disposal” to stop what he deems a “coup d’état.”

Lawmakers are set to vote Sanchez into government on Thursday, but many in Spain are outraged that the acting prime minister has offered amnesty to those involved in the Catalan independence push in exchange for their political backing.

Recent days and weeks have been marked by anti-amnesty protests, some massive, some turning violent, as both Vox and the mainstream conservative party suggest that the amnesty deal erodes Spain’s democracy and rule of law.

With so much polarization, even former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson has joined the far-right in the anti-amnesty protests. He told Spanish media outlet Okdiario that “anyone who would violate your Constitution … to end democracy is a tyrant, is a dictator.”

The former anchor, who described the Jan. 6 insurrection in the US as “mostly peaceful chaos,” said he wants to spread the word about what’s happening in Spain.

The Interior Ministry, meanwhile, has suspended three police officers for making threatening or accusatory statements about Sanchez or the amnesty law.

A worker’s union associated with Vox has even called for a general strike against the amnesty, though experts suggest the strike will not have legal standing because it is a minority union and the cause is political.

With some judges even protesting the proposed amnesty, one group of progressive judges said “the defense of the separation of powers demands maintaining an image of impartiality not guaranteed by these acts.”

Spanish minister Felix Bolanos has defended the “bravery” of the government for proposing the amnesty law and described it as “solid and impeccable from the Constitutional point of view.”

Speaking to broadcaster RAC1, he said the government is considering providing police protection to Carles Puigdemont, the former president of Catalonia, who lives in a self-imposed exile in Brussels, due to increasing levels of danger.

With the government formation debate set to begin on Wednesday, there are already heightened levels of security around the Spanish parliament. According to Spanish news agency Efe, as many as 1,400 police will be deployed, similar to the security around a high-risk football match.

The amnesty bill is expected to benefit more than 300 people, from high-level politicians such as Puigdemont to activists or others like school principals who opened their schools up to the illegal referendum in 2017. A further 73 police officers facing charges for violence against pro-independence activists or those voting in the referendum would also see their charges dropped.

The bill has won the support of a majority of politicians in Spain’s fractured parliament who were elected in July.

“Deep down, anyone even vaguely aware of the situation in Catalonia knew that this would have to end in an amnesty,” said Aitor Esteban, spokesperson of Basque Party PNV.

Yet Spain’s conservative Popular Party has also been advocating for European allies to get involved.

The conservative European People’s Party, the largest group in the EU Parliament, says the amnesty law “threatens the separation of powers and in the integrity of the rule of law,” and the group is trying to organize an EU-level debate.

With the internationalization of the issue evident, the head of the EU’s Socialists & Democrats Iratxe Garcia Perez said she was “surprised” by EU interference in the issue and suggested that the right wing is just upset that they lost this summer’s election.

Source: AA