BARCELONA – Spain is waiting for a new government. This week’s agreement between the PSOE and Sumar parties brings this closer. The difficulty now comes from the Catalan nationalists. For support, they put “non-negotiable” demands on the table.
The leader of Junts is thus delaying a political breakthrough. Because without this support a left-oriented coalition does not have a majority. The talks between the Socialists led by outgoing Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) for a political agreement are therefore at a critical stage. According to sources within the negotiations, it is mainly the inflexibility of Carles Puigdemont throwing a spanner in the works.
A difficult stumbling block
Both sides are close to an agreement on paper. However, the former Catalan head of state continues to stick to terms that he says are “non-negotiable”. This is mainly due to his speech on September 5. At this time, he emphasised the independence of Catalonia as the only option for its existence.
Who else is in the boat?
Interestingly, JxCat wants the new Amnesty legislation to also apply to a wide range of people who were involved in the independence process. This ranges from dozens of mayors to teachers and firefighters. However, it does not appear that more prominent nationalist figures such as the Pujol family will be included in this proposal.
International mediator: yes or no?
Another stumbling block in the talks is the requirement for an international mediator. Puigdemont and co believe this is necessary to monitor the agreements made. However, the Socialists are not prepared to respond to this. Although they did agree to the appointment of a so-called “mediator” in 2019.
Puigdemont insists that the Amnesty Act be registered first before any announcement about an agreement on government formation is made. The order of these steps cannot be changed by him at all.
Party congress in Málaga
In view of the upcoming congress of the PSOE and the Partido Socialista Europeo (PES) in Málaga on November 10 and 11, the time seems urgent. Both parties are keen on a breakthrough, but with so many non-negotiable demands on the table, it remains to be seen whether that will work.
Criticism from the right
Alberto Nuñez Feíjoo, PP leader, is very critical of the PSOE because of the negotiations between that party and the Catalan nationalists. Feíjóo calls the coalition agreement with Sumar ‘wet paper’ and ‘worthless’ without the support of Junts. Furthermore, the PP continues to demand a date for the investiture of the new government in preparation for both the opposition and possible elections.