Sánchez Is the Reasonable Choice in Spain’s Election
As long as Spain’s mainstream right would rather do a deal with the far right than the center-left, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’ Socialists are the most reasonable choice in the country’s general election on Sunday.
Sánchez’ only possible partners are the far-left Podemos and regionalists from the Basque Country, the Canary Islands, Catalonia and Valencia. Even if, as the polls predict, the Socialists expand their plurality in Congress, the next coalition government could be unwieldy.
Podemos will require concessions and its platform is full of unwise proposals, from abolishing spy agencies to nationalizing energy companies to withdrawing from international trade deals.
If the regionalists end up as kingmakers, they can be expected to leverage their position to extract more money from Madrid. The two largest parties in Catalonia insist they will only back Sánchez if he comes out in favor of a legal independence referendum. Sánchez insists he won’t.
But those complications are preferable to the alternative: a hard-right government that would need the Franco apologists in Vox for its majority and exacerbate the separatist crisis in Catalonia by once again suspending self-government in this part of Spain. Read more
Sánchez Has the Right Idea: A Referendum on Catalan Home Rule
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez has proposed calling a referendum on a renegotiated statute for Catalan home rule.
In 2010, the Spanish Constitutional Court rewrote parts of Catalonia’s 2006 autonomy statute. Most of the changes were minor, except they limited Catalonia’s fiscal autonomy and took out the description of Catalonia as a “nation”.
As a result, Sánchez said in a radio interview, “Catalonia has a statute that it didn’t vote for.”
78 percent of Catalan voters ratified the 2006 statute in a referendum. Read more
Catalan and Spanish Leaders Take Steps to Normalize Relations
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez and Catalan president Quim Torra have met for the first time.
The fact that a simple meeting is considered a step forward says something about how poorly Sánchez’ conservative predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, managed relations between the Spanish state and its richest — and rebellious — region.
Beyond the symbolism of the meeting, the two leaders made substantive progress. Read more
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