Pedro Sanchez is back…and now Spain’s prime minister must make his bold gamble pay off

at the end of investment debate Even if it is made by Latest standardsThe defeated leader of Spain’s conservative opposition shook hands with his victorious socialist rivals but stopped short of expressing his warmest wishes.

“This was a mistake,” said Popular Party (PP) leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo, smiling as he pressed his hand against the meat. Pedro Sanchez Thursday. “You are responsible for what you just did.”

The word “wrong” seems surprisingly mild given Feijiao’s other descriptions of Sánchez’s actions to secure another four years in office for Spain’s Socialist Workers Party (PSOE).

Sanchez’s decision agree to request Representatives of Catalonia’s two main pro-independence parties – whose parliament’s support for his new government hinges on an amnesty for hundreds of people involved in independence Unilateral push to break away from Spain six years ago – which proved deeply divisive. A day earlier, the PPP leader had gushed about the shocking psychological state of the acting prime minister. “You are the problem,” Feijiao told Sanchez. “You and your inability to keep your promises, your lack of moral restraint, your pathological ambition.

“As long as you are by my side, Spain He added that history would not pardon Pedro Sanchez.

Another senior member of PP Compare the proposed law to Franco-era legislationwhile far-right Vox called Sanchez a “tyrant” and accused him of crimes “COUPI IN CAPITAL LETTER”.

A defaced portrait of Pedro Sánchez appears on a bus during a protest outside the House of Representatives in Madrid, Spain, on November 16. Photo: Sergio Pérez/EPA

While much of the political rhetoric was overheated and deliberately provocative, it could not hide the fact that many Spaniards have serious concerns about amnesty. Vote in mid-September It shows that 70% of voters, including 59% who voted for PSOE in July’s snap election, oppose the amnesty law. The issue has also sparked protests by hundreds of thousands in recent weeks. Tens of thousands of people gathered in Madrid on Saturday to express their opposition to the move, with some holding placards reading “Separation of Powers” and “Traitor” and shouting “Sanchez resigns!” and “Long live Spain!”.

Sánchez, 51, had opposed the clemency bill before the election and now claims the law is needed to promote coexistence and heal past wounds. His government says the law aims to expose ordinary teachers, civil servants, police officers and firefighters to legal action for their roles in the October 2017 incident. Spain’s Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) argued that a deal was necessary to eliminate the possibility of a PP-Vox government that would undo years of significant progress in social progress and equality.

The problem is that the most high-profile beneficiaries of the proposed law will be Carles Puigdemont, former Catalonia presidentFleeing to Belgium to avoid arrest for plotting a failed independence bid, his hardline Together for Catalonia party joined the more moderate Catalan Republican Left (ERC) in pushing for an amnesty. For many Spaniards across the political spectrum, providing Puigdemont with this information was unthinkable, wrong, or both.

So why would Sanchez take this risk? Simply put, he has to. “We all know that Sanchez raised the issue of amnesty because he needs Judet’s votes,” said José Pablo Ferrándiz, director of public opinion and social affairs. Ipsos Spanish political research. “If he didn’t need these votes, we wouldn’t be talking about it now and how important it is for development and peace in Spain.”

High-stakes decisions are also driven by his character. One of his defining characteristics has always been his willingness to gamble.when he uses motion of no confidence Five years ago, he called on Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party government to step down and take over.when he calls Inclusive elections in July back Spain’s Socialist Party suffers heavy defeat in May regional and local elections.

“He was a risk-taking leader who was able to change his mind many times when it came to his personal survival and the survival of his party,” Ferrandis said. “But it always worked out for him, So I think he has the mentality that everything he does will end well. I think that makes him take risks.”

It also helps, he added, that Sanchez is not a politician overly bound by ideology — “I don’t say that in a negative or critical way. I think not having a strong ideology makes you better suited to the environment.” When you think your political survival is threatened. “

Even so, Pablo Simon, a political scientist at Madrid’s Universidad Carlos III, described Sanchez’s most dangerous move yet as “a leap in the dark.” He said Sanchez had chosen “to ensure the stability of the government at all costs” after rejecting the idea of ​​holding new elections.

Simon said that price will become clear during the first half of the Legislature’s session. He noted that unlike the controversial pardon granted by Sanchez, Nine Catalan independence leaders Two years ago, an amnesty law would not have been a quick and clean affair. If approved by Congress and the PPP-controlled Senate, judges will apply it on a case-by-case basis, meaning more embarrassing and painful moments could be coming.

Meanwhile, both the Popular Party and Vox will seek to inflict maximum political damage on Sanchez and his coalition partners. left-wing soumal alliance.

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Despite ignoring the so-called Catalan problem until it got completely out of control – and used the courts to oppose 2010 legislative measures to achieve greater autonomy for Catalonia, angering many in the region. – Feijó’s party will use the amnesty law to ravage the new government.

Walkers, Catalonia’s independence crisis and the People’s Party’s weak response to it propelled it into the political mainstreamIt has also embraced the issue in the hope of reversing its shaky support: its number of seats plummeted from 52 to 33 in July’s election.

Then there was Junts. Puigdemont’s party, which shared his unwavering commitment to creating an independent country CataloniaSanchez has been warned not to take his recent parliamentary support for granted.

“If we are here today, it is to make things really change,” Junz’s spokesperson Miriam Nograles told Sanchez on Wednesday. “But if there is no progress, we will not approve any initiative from your government.” “

While Sanchez’s new alliance will face turmoil in the coming months, he has shown that he cannot be underestimated. His renowned ability to repurpose adversity could also help him stitch together the fabric of society that was violently torn apart six years ago.

“We need to remember that this is one of Spain’s historic conflicts that needs to be solved no matter what,” Ferrandis said. “How to solve it is another question. But if it is not solved now, it will need to be solved in the future.” . ”

A The Catalan government’s own Opinion Research Center released a poll on Friday There is reason for optimism in the Sanchez camp. The survey found that 60% of respondents supported the amnesty law, while 31% opposed it. The survey also showed that 52% of respondents opposed Catalonia’s independence, while 41% opposed Catalonia’s independence. Just as importantly, it shows that the Catalan branch of the Socialist Party is still leading in the polls and will beat Junts and the ERC in the regional elections to once again take first place.

The problem is that, even for a player as experienced and professional as Sanchez, the political stakes are rarely so high.

“If the outcome of this legislative body is bad, the Spanish left could be in opposition for 20 years and history will not remember Sánchez fondly,” Pablo Simón said. “But if the outcome is good, we could see a comeback of pro-independence parties.” .” “Go down the path of governance and reduce their demands. That’s the purpose of this gamble. But there are many opponents and many people who hope that Sanchez will fail.”

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