Sánchez Shouldn’t Fear Federalizing Spain

Spanish Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez listens during a meeting in Madrid, April 12, 2016
Spanish Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez listens during a meeting in Madrid, April 12, 2016 (PSOE)

There is hope here in Catalonia that the new Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, will be more conciliatory than the last. But he mustn’t make the same mistake as his predecessor, I argue in an op-ed for the Netherlands’ NRC newspaper. Read more

Spain Lifts Catalan Spending Controls, Hints at Constitutional Reform

Pedro Sánchez addresses a conference of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party January 30, 2016
Pedro Sánchez addresses a conference of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party January 30, 2016 (PSOE)

Spain has lifted controls on Catalonia’s public finances and called for constitutional reforms to dissuade the region from breaking away.

The goodwill measures of the new Socialist government are an about-face from the clampdown under conservative prime minister Mariano Rajoy, who was ousted in a confidence vote last week.

Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez, the new prime minister, backed Rajoy when he suspended Catalonia’s autonomy in the wake of the October 1 independence referendum. But he also argued for talks to convince a majority of Catalans to stay in Spain. Rajoy refused to so much as sit down with the region’s separatists. Read more

Catalans Again Compromise. Will Spain Too?

Quim Torra enters the parliament of Catalonia to be sworn in as the region's president, May 14
Quim Torra enters the parliament of Catalonia to be sworn in as the region’s president, May 14 (Miguel González de la Fuente)

Catalonia’s separatists have again compromised, withdrawing four proposed regional ministers who were unacceptable to Spain.

The question now is: will Spain restore autonomy? Or will it find yet another reason to maintain direct rule? Read more

Spain Rejects Catalan Cabinet Picks, Maintains Direct Rule

Prime Ministers Binali Yıldırım of Turkey and Mariano Rajoy of Spain deliver a news conference in Madrid, April 24
Prime Ministers Binali Yıldırım of Turkey and Mariano Rajoy of Spain deliver a news conference in Madrid, April 24 (La Moncloa)

Spain has rejected four of the ministers nominated by the newly inaugurated Catalan president, Quim Torra, postponing the restoration of autonomy in the region.

Spanish authorities have described the cabinet picks as a “provocation”. The reason is that two of them are in jail, awaiting trial for their role in the October 1 referendum, while the other two have fled to Belgium.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called for a “viable” Catalan government.

El País reports that Rajoy’s refusal to restore home rule has created the novel situation “in which Torra is the head of the Catalan government, yet each regional department will continue to answer to the national minister currently in charge of each area.” Read more

Who Is Catalonia’s New President and What Happens Next?

Quim Torra enters the parliament of Catalonia to be sworn in as the region's president, May 14
Quim Torra enters the parliament of Catalonia to be sworn in as the region’s president, May 14 (Miguel González de la Fuente)

Quim Torra has been elected president of Catalonia with 66 to 65 votes in the regional legislature.

Torra was supported by his own party, Together for Catalonia, and its ally, the Republican Left. Both seek Catalan independence.

The smallest separatist party, the Popular Unity Candidacy, abstained to make it possible for Torra to take office, but it considered his predecessor, Carles Puigdemont, the only legitimate candidate.

Puigdemont, who led Together for Catalonia to victory in December’s election, was removed from power by Spain in the wake of the October 1 independence referendum that had been ruled illegal by the Constitutional Court. Read more

Catalans Find Fourth Candidate for Regional Presidency

The palace of the Catalan regional government in Barcelona, Spain, September 26, 2012
The palace of the Catalan regional government in Barcelona, Spain, September 26, 2012 (Wikimedia Commons/Andriy Sadivskyy)

Catalonia’s largest independence party, Together for Yes, has proposed its fourth candidate for the regional presidency after the Constitutional Court suspended a law to allow Carles Puigdemont to be sworn in from abroad.

Quim Torra, the former president of the pro-independence civil society organization Òmnium Cultural, is due to be inaugurated next week. Read more

Catalan Parties Fall Out Over Puigdemont’s Reinstatement

Oriol Junqueras and Carles Puigdemont, the leaders of the Catalan ruling party, deliver a news conference in Barcelona, Spain, March 1, 2017
Oriol Junqueras and Carles Puigdemont, the leaders of the Catalan ruling party, deliver a news conference in Barcelona, Spain, March 1, 2017 (Generalitat de Catalunya/Rubén Moreno)

Catalonia’s second-largest independence party, the Republican Left, has rejected the bid of its ally, Together for Catalonia, to reinstate Carles Puigdemont as regional president.

The parties, with support from the far-left Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP), recently changed the law to make it possible for Puigdemont to be sworn in from abroad. But the Republican Left now calls for a candidate who is not in legal trouble. Read more