Sánchez Has the Right Idea: A Referendum on Catalan Home Rule

Catalan president Quim Torra is welcomed by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez in Madrid, July 9
Catalan president Quim Torra is welcomed by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez in Madrid, July 9 (La Moncloa)

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 “Sánchez Has the Right Idea: A Referendum on Catalan Home Rule”

Catalan and Spanish Leaders Take Steps to Normalize Relations

Catalan president Quim Torra is welcomed by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez in Madrid, July 9
Catalan president Quim Torra is welcomed by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez in Madrid, July 9 (La Moncloa)

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 “Catalan and Spanish Leaders Take Steps to Normalize Relations”

Sánchez Shouldn’t Be Afraid of 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 “Sánchez Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Federalizing Spain”

Sánchez Seek Leading Role in EU, Conservatives Play Petty Politics

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez wave at photographers before a meeting in Madrid, December 23, 2015
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez wave at photographers before a meeting in Madrid, December 23, 2015 (PSOE)

Pedro Sánchez is filling his cabinet with what the Financial Times describes as respected European figures:

  • Nadia Calviño, the European Commission’s director general for budget, becomes Spain’s economy minister. She is considered “one of the brightest talents in the EU institutions.”
  • Josep Borrell, a former president of the European Parliament, is to become foreign minister. A native of Catalonia, he opposes independence for the region.

The appointments suggest Sánchez intends to be “a driving force in Brussels” while he is around. He is keen on French president Emmanuel Macron’s proposals for EU reform — unlike his conservative predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, who allied with Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel. Read more “Sánchez Seek Leading Role in EU, Conservatives Play Petty Politics”

Spain’s Rajoy Forced Out, Sánchez Elected Prime Minister

Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias meet in Madrid, February 5, 2016
Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias meet in Madrid, February 5, 2016 (PSOE)
  • Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has lost a confidence vote in Congress in the wake of a corruption scandal in his conservative party.
  • Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez takes his place with the support of the far left and regionalists.
  • According to polls, the liberal Citizens stand to gain the most from early elections. Read more “Spain’s Rajoy Forced Out, Sánchez Elected Prime Minister”

Sánchez Makes Good on Promise to Move Spain’s Socialists to the Left

Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias meet in Madrid, February 5, 2016
Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias meet in Madrid, February 5, 2016 (PSOE)

Pedro Sánchez is making good on his promise to move Spain’s Socialist Party to the left.

In the clearest sign yet of a new program, the Socialists refused to vote for a European trade pact with Canada in the national legislature last week.

Their deputies in the European Parliament did endorse the treaty when it came up for a vote there in February.

The ruling conservatives managed to ratify the treaty anyway with support from smaller parties in the center. But the Socialists’ abstention is a sign of things to come. Read more “Sánchez Makes Good on Promise to Move Spain’s Socialists to the Left”

Pedro Sánchez 2.0

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)

It was the result Spain’s Socialist bigwigs had feared: a resounding victory for Pedro Sánchez in their party’s primary on Sunday, beating Andalusia premier Susana Díaz and former Basque premier Patxi López to become leader for a second time.

Many had believed Sánchez was dead and buried last autumn, when his first spell as leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) ended in acrimony. His ouster had been triggered by two poor general election results, followed by a refusal to abstain in a parliamentary investiture vote in order to allow Mariano Rajoy to form a new conservative administration.

But this has been one of the unlikeliest political resurrections Spain has seen, made possible by an equally unlikely makeover on the part of Sánchez. Read more “Pedro Sánchez 2.0”

Sánchez’ Revenge: Spanish Socialist Leader Stages Comeback

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)

The former leader of Spain’s Socialist Party, Pedro Sánchez, has avenged himself against the woman who led a coup against him last year.

Susana Díaz, the regional president of Andalusia, was the favorite to win the party leadership. She had the backing of regional bosses and the Socialist Party machine.

Yet it was Sánchez who prevailed. With 85 percent of the votes counted, he had built up enough of a lead on Sunday night to call the primary in his favor. Read more “Sánchez’ Revenge: Spanish Socialist Leader Stages Comeback”

Let Spain’s Socialist Party Rebels Spell Out Their Alternative

Pedro Sánchez, the leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, answers questions from reporters in Madrid, January 22
Pedro Sánchez, the leader of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, answers questions from reporters in Madrid, January 22 (PSOE)

Spain’s Socialist Party is split. Half its executive committee resigned on Wednesday in a bid to oust Pedro Sánchez, the party leader, but Sánchez and his loyalists are pressing ahead with their plan to call a party congress and leadership election in the autumn in an attempt to demonstrate grassroots support.

Politico argues that the odds are against Sánchez. His party governs in seven of the seventeen Spanish regions and only one of those local leaders backs him.

Among his six detractors is Susana Díaz, the popular president of Andalusia, Spain’s most populous and southernmost region and a traditional Socialist Party stronghold. Read more “Let Spain’s Socialist Party Rebels Spell Out Their Alternative”