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Catalan separatist leader takes for granted that Spanish government will pass amnesty law

The Spanish government passing an amnesty law for those implicated in the 2017 secessionist attempt, to clear the way to reinstate the acting Prime Minister Pedro S?nchez, was taken for granted by Catalan separatist leader Oriol Junqueras, president of the pro-independence formation Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC).

At a press conference in Barcelona with a group of ERC (The Greens/EFA) members, Junqueras took it “for granted” that the acting left-wing government will soon pass an amnesty law, Euractiv’s partner EFE reported.

On Tuesday (19 September), Junqueras told a group of reporters outside the Spanish Parliament in Madrid that the approval of an amnesty law for those involved in the 2017 events was the condition set by Catalan separatist forces for the appointment of Francina Armengol (PSOE/S&D) as the Chamber’s speaker.

In those agreements, Junqueras stated on Tuesday, “it was specified that all forms of (alleged) repression (by Madrid) had to be stopped with all necessary legal measures”, including an amnesty. This measure most experts say has no place in Spain’s 1978 constitution.

Given that both ERC and its political rival, the centre-liberal separatist formation Junts Per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia, JxCat), take it for granted that Pedro S?nchez’s Government will, sooner or later, pass the law, ERC’s efforts are now focused on continuing to press Madrid for a referendum on Catalonia’s self-determination, Junqueras stressed.

Only within the Constitution

The amnesty law, a referendum on self-determination, the promotion of Catalan, Basque and Galician as official languages in the Spanish parliament and in EU institutions, and the management by the Catalan regional government (Generalitat) of the local commuter rail network (Rodalies) are among the long list of demands made by JxCat and ERC to pressure the PSOE into agreeing to their conditions for supporting S?nchez.

However, Spanish official sources reiterated on Wednesday the same message that they have been repeating, almost as an automated reaction, since the leader of JxCat, Carles Puigdemont, set out his demands earlier this month: Madrid will only negotiate within the framework of the Spanish Constitution.

In a press conference at ERC’s headquarters, Junqueras recalled that Wednesday marked the sixth anniversary of September 20, 2017, “the day the Spanish police entered the Conseller?a (regional ministry) of Economy to try to prevent the (illegal) referendum of October 1, 2017” in Catalonia.

The separatist leader added that on that date “the police proceeded to arrest many comrades (15 people), but the (illegal) referendum was held with the support of a large part of our citizens, and today we continue to fight against that repression that began that day and has still not stopped”.

A wrong interpretation

Junqueras explained that if his party has worked “to get prisoners out of jail, to abolish sedition and to reform embezzlement”, it is because “exercising democracy and the right to vote can never be a crime, and what should be a crime is to prevent people from voting by force”.

About 52% of Catalans would vote “no” today in a hypothetical independence referendum, compared to 42% who would vote in favour, according to data from the latest barometer of the Centre d’Estudis d’Opini? (CEO) of the Generalitat, El Peri?dico reported recently.

Spain meets the highest international democratic standards, and there is neither repression nor political prisoners of any kind. The Iberian country has been part of the EU since 1986 (then the EEC) and has accepted its entire legal acquis.

According to an Op-Ed published by El Pa?s daily on 15 June 2017, Spain’s respect for the highest human rights criteria “has enabled a country afflicted by a tempestuous recent history to join the club of the world’s most advanced democracies”.

(Fernando Heller EuroEFE.Euractiv.es)

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