Whether Pedro Sánchez is once again sworn in as president of the Spanish Government depends exclusively on Carles Puigdemontbut the Catalan independentist has decided to make the socialist wait to show that he is not someone easy to convince.
(Also read: Miguel Bosé reveals crazy anecdotes from his career on a Spanish TV show).
However, on Thursday everything seemed done. Installed near Brussels to avoid Spanish justice, The leader of the failed 2017 secession attempt in Catalonia had summoned the leadership of his Together for Catalonia party (Junts per Catalunya, JxCat) in a hotel in the Belgian capital.
A lectern with a microphone was even set up for an intervention before the press, but at the end of the day everything had been removed without being used.
Instead, a message on X (previously called Twitter) from Puigdemont asking for “prudence”, for “more hurry than some have”, in an implicit reference to Pedro Sánchez’s socialists.
(Keep reading: Queen Letizia’s striking gesture on the day of Princess Leonor’s swearing-in).
In exchange for the support of the seven deputies of his party – essential for the president of the outgoing Government to be restored to power by the very fragmented Parliament that emerged from the elections of July 23 -, Puigdemont demands an amnesty for pro-independence supporters prosecuted by Spanish Justice.
This measure, highly controversial and accepted by the socialists, should allow him to return to Spain, six years after his escape to Belgium in the days after the failed secession attempt.
‘Last minute disagreements’
The socialists’ amnesty law proposal had already received the approval of the other major independence partyRepublican Left of Catalonia (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, ERC), which governs the region, and which will vote in favor of Sánchez remaining in power.
To seal the dealthe acting President of the Government sent his right-hand man, the Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, to Barcelona on Thursday.. According to the Spanish press, in the hope that Bolaños would simultaneously conclude a parallel agreement with Puigdemont’s party.
Looking sad, Bolaños had to limit himself to saying that he hoped the agreement with Junts would be signed “soon.”
According to Jaume Asens, a member of the radical left who has governed with Sánchez, and negotiator of the agreement with Junts, “last minute discrepancies” arose, without wanting to reveal them.
But the distance “is so small” that “it is impossible for there to be no agreement,” he said in an interview on Spanish public television.expressing his conviction that there will be an agreement in the “next hours or days.”
According to Antonio Barroso, analyst at the consulting firm Teneo, Puigdemont’s lack of hurry to sign an agreement with the socialists is due to the power struggle waged by his party and ERC in Cataloniawhere the independence movement has ruled for more than a decade.
Together, more radical, has presented in recent years a frontal opposition to the Government of Pedro Sánchez, although it brought him to power in 2018 by voting in favor of the motion of censure he presented against his conservative predecessor Mariano Rajoy.
(We recommend: Spain: Pedro Sánchez reaches an agreement on amnesty with Catalan leaders).
ERC, more moderate, advocates dialogue with Madrid and usually supports the left-wing government in Parliament.
“Junts is in a fierce combat with Esquerra for the hegemony of the independence movement” and “Puigdemont is afraid of being painted as someone who has betrayed his people” by agreeing to give Sánchez another mandate, the analyst told AFP.
Allies in the regional government led by Puigdemont when the secession attempt occurred, the two parties broke ties last year and ERC, accused by Junts of weakness vis-à-vis the central government, currently governs Catalonia alone.
In this context, Puigdemont wants to impose “a different narrative” than that of ERC on the agreement that will facilitate the governability of Spain, Therefore, “the last word must be yours,” journalist Enric Juliana wrote on Friday in the Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia.