Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has successfully won reelection with an absolute majority in a parliament marked by fragmentation. To secure the endorsement of a majority of lawmakers, Sánchez had to negotiate agreements with six small parties, including two Catalan separatist groups.
The crucial element of these agreements was Sánchez’s promise to push through a controversial amnesty for those implicated in Catalonia’s failed secession attempt back in 2017. This decision did not come without criticism, as many believe it sets a dangerous precedent and undermines the rule of law.
Political observers recognize the challenges that lie ahead for Sánchez, but acknowledge the difficulty in toppling a Spanish government through a parliamentary maneuver. As Sánchez forms his new government, it will be a minority leftist coalition that heavily relies on the support of the separatist parties and two Basque parties.
Maintaining a stable government for the full four-year term could prove to be a tough task for Sánchez. However, one option available to him in case of significant hurdles is calling for a snap election.
Sánchez’s supporters are unlikely to switch their allegiance to the Popular Party due to its alliance with the far-right Vox party. This poses an advantage for Sánchez as he maintains a sense of stability within his current coalition.
Despite their support, the Catalan parties have made it clear that they want more than just amnesty; their ultimate goal is to hold a binding referendum on Catalan independence. Consequently, the competition between the two main Catalan parties in regional elections may work in Sánchez’s favor, as the separatists may require his support to achieve their objectives.
Interestingly, recent developments have indicated that the push for Catalan independence has somewhat weakened, with support dwindling and tensions shifting towards Madrid. Consequently, only a socialist government can guarantee amnesty for the separatists, leading to an ironic situation for former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont.
As Sánchez embarks on his new term, he faces numerous challenges and uncertainties. Whether he can effectively navigate Spain’s ever-complex political landscape remains to be seen, but the impact of his decisions will undoubtedly shape the country’s future.
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