MADRID – More than 50 retired Spanish officers have made a controversial call for a coup to oust newly re-elected Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
This action marks a significant radicalisation within certain right-wing circles in Spain. Published on the website of the Association of Spanish Military (AME), the manifesto contains the signatures of former senior military officers, including majors and brigadier generals. The purpose of this manifesto is to mobilise active military personnel to stage a coup and force new elections.
This call is not the first time the AME has been in the spotlight for its far-right positions. In the past, the association has downplayed General Franco’s coup that led to the Spanish Civil War and subsequent dictatorship.
Criticism from active military personnel
The manifesto has caused unrest among actively serving soldiers, who do not agree with the former officers who present themselves as representatives of the armed forces. Many of these officers, once active under the Franco regime, have not been on active duty for decades.
Doubts about feasibility
Experts and political observers doubt the feasibility of such a coup, given Spain’s modern democratic structure. Moreover, they consider it unlikely that active military personnel will support such radical actions.
Contents of the manifesto
The manifesto focuses on a range of issues. These include the Amnesty Agreement, which was brought into parliament by Sánchez’s socialist government. It also contains incorrect claims about Sánchez’s alleged support for a new Catalan independence referendum.
Link with previous extremist statements
Some signatories of the manifesto were involved in a WhatsApp group that talked about the shooting of 26 million left-wing Spaniards in 2020, a case that was ultimately dropped by the Spanish justice system.
Current political situation
The socialist party PSOE, led by Sánchez, finished second in the last elections, behind the conservative People’s Party (PP). However, Sánchez was re-elected with the support of several parties, including Catalan separatists. These separatists, who organised an illegal referendum in 2017, have won concessions from Sánchez, including a proposed amnesty, which is controversial in Spanish politics and may be challenged in Spain’s Constitutional Court.