Surprise in Spain: Amnesty bill does not pass Congress

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The Spanish House of Representatives has rejected the approval of the Organic Amnesty Law proposed by the Socialist Party (PSOE).

The Amnesty Law aims at institutional, political and social normalisation in Catalonia. Moreover, the aim of this is to bridge the ongoing political division in the country.

Voting results

In the vote that took place on Tuesday afternoon, 350 votes were cast. The law was not adopted with 171 votes in favour and 179 against, without any abstentions. However, this does not mean the end of the law; the process is not yet completed. According to Rule 131 of the Rules of Congress, it will now return to the Judiciary Committee. It must issue new advice within a month. This suggests that the topic will be back on the agenda soon.

Also read: Breakthrough in Spanish politics: PSOE and Junts reach amnesty agreement

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Junts’ decisive ‘no’

A striking aspect of the vote was the ‘no’ vote from the Catalan party Junts. The PSOE refused to include terrorism and the crime of high treason in the amnesty law. However, that was a crucial condition for Junts to support the law. Consequently, Carles Puigdemont’s party voted against the law. “Junts” stands for “Junts per Catalunya” (Together for Catalonia). The Catalan political party is mainly focused on promoting Catalan independence. Junts has a centre-right orientation and is committed to Catalan nationalism.

Response from the PSOE

The PSOE reacted with surprise to Junts’ decision. Félix Bolaños, a prominent member of the PSOE, defended the law. He emphasised that the text is “completely constitutional and irreproachable.” Furthermore, he called on Junts to reconsider their position and vote for the current version of the law.

Consequences for Spanish politics

The rejection of this law is an important moment in Spanish politics. Particularly because of the tense relations between the central government and Catalonia. It illustrates the complexity of finding common ground on issues affecting Spain’s national unity and regional autonomy.

Outlook

The issue surrounding the Amnesty Law has dominated political news in Spain for months. The law came under much criticism of President Pedro Sánchez. Opponents accused him of only giving the nationalist Catalans their way to stay in power. Supporters, however, praised him for breaking a long political impasse. However, after today’s surprising development, the theme will not disappear anytime soon. Moreover, the coming weeks will be crucial to see if any changes are made to the law. It must then be determined whether this will ultimately be adopted.

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