Catalan Pro-Independence Parties Register an Amnesty Bill in the Spanish Congress

On Tuesday, the Catalan pro-independence parties ERC, Junts, CUP and PDECat registered a draft bill for an amnesty law in the Spanish Congress. This seeks the extinction of any kind of criminal and administrative responsibility for all acts of political intent related to the democratic struggle for self-determination of Catalonia since January 1, 2013, which would grant a pardon to over 3,000 victims of reprisals.

The proposal, which has to be debated in Congress, has no chance of passing. PP and Vox have already announced their refusal and the senior cabinet minister and PSOE organizational secretary José Luis Ábalos also confirmed that his party will oppose the amnesty law, thus closing the doors to a possible approval.

The position of Unidas Podemos, which is in a coalition government with PSOE, is still unknown. The group’s president in Congress, Jaume Asens, said that they will not vote against it. However, he has not clarified yet whether they will abstain or vote in favor, and has stated that it will depend on the wording of the text.

The Spanish government was considering other alternatives, which have been rejected or deliberated postponed, such as granting presidential pardons to the nine politicians and high-profile activists political prisoners or a reform of the crime of sedition for which they were convicted. However, these proposals would only benefit the top leaders of the pro-independence movement, leaving over 3,000 lower-profile cases unresolved.

The Vice-President of the Catalan civil society organization Òmnium Cultural, Marcel Mauri, said that the approval of the amnesty law by the Congress will “depend on the political will to resolve the Catalan conflict. It would be an “important step” that should make it possible to “turn the page,” he added.

Montse Bassa (ERC) warned that rejecting this amnesty law is “maintaining injustice and revenge” and “wanting to negotiate [while holding] hostages”.

Míriam Nogueras (Junts) stated that the Spanish government has not yet put any alternative on the table.

Mireia Vehí (CUP) recalled that, with the presentation of this bill, PSOE has the ball in its court.

The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) did not attend the event because approval of the amnesty law in Congress is not possible.

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