Spain: Sánchez set to form government

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of the socialist PSOE could be re-elected for another term in office as early as next week after reaching an agreement with the Catalan pro-independence party Junts on Thursday. This follows agreements with the left-wing alliance Sumar and the Catalan ERC party. Commentators are at odds over potential consequences, in particular as regards the planned amnesty.

El País (ES) /

The propaganda hype is over

El País welcomes the return to the politics of compromise:

“There are concessions on both sides in these coalition pacts, even if those who have been hyping the situation so far are trying to conceal this. Political education is what is needed now, not the hype of propaganda. Anything can make sense if it’s done well, explained even better and backed up by results. The goal is to re-establish politics and dialogue as the only means for resolving conflicts. And to restore the tradition of major autonomous pacts with Catalonia that all governments have cultivated to date and which have served as a model for the other autonomous regions.”

El Mundo (ES) /

Change of government would have been better

El Mundo criticises the pact as totally undemocratic:

“It is of grave significance: the PSOE is opening up a permanent negotiating framework between the government and [Carles] Puigdemont based on acceptance of the pro-independence narrative: the actors behind the independence process are victims of a political persecution that dates back to the 18th century and that must end. ... The PSOE has chosen to weaken the state rather than allow a change of government. That is a high price to pay. The pact does not contain a single measure that contributes to the well-being of Spaniards; on the contrary, everything is aimed at dividing them. How will the government justify this pact, which goes against democratic values such as freedom, equality and solidarity before its citizens and the EU?”

La Stampa (IT) /

Double salto without a safety net

Sánchez wants to remain prime minister at all costs, La Stampa writes mockingly:

“Pedro Sánchez is a political acrobat. ... But now he is performing a double salto without a net. ... From his European parliamentary exile in Brussels, Carles Puigdemont has wrested a high price from him: amnesty for himself and all those accused of sedition. This poses two major concerns. ... One is constitutionality: the debate among jurists has already begun. The second is more serious: it would involve an amnesty without the repentance of those receiving amnesty, who could immediately return to the cause that earned them their conviction for sedition without hindrances.”

Stefano Stefanini
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Not a good starting position

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung fears a political blockade policy:

“Even the choice of words on both sides doesn’t bode well. ... While representatives of the opposition from the right to the far right see the constitution of 1978 and the foundations of the constitutional state exposed to the shameless arbitrariness of the bid to stay in power, the forces at the other pole of the ‘two Spains’ are boasting about the political normalisation of the relationship between the central state and Catalonia, without even once mentioning the blatant disregard for law and order by the independence activists. How the Cortes [the two houses of parliament] are supposed to function under these conditions no one knows.”

Daniel Deckers