The Spanish Supreme Court has rejected the proposal to grant amnesty to the leaders of the 2017 Catalonia independence referendum, which was declared illegal by the court. The decision comes as a blow to the acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who had hoped to secure the support of the Catalan pro-independence parties to form a new government.
The amnesty plan, which was approved by the members of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) and its allies in the leftwing Sumar alliance, aimed to pardon the hundreds of people who participated in the failed secession attempt, including the former Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont, who is still wanted by Spanish courts. The plan also envisaged a new dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona to resolve the long-standing political conflict.
However, the Supreme Court ruled that the amnesty would violate the principle of equality before the law and undermine the constitutional order. The court also argued that the separatist leaders had shown no remorse or willingness to abide by the law, and that their actions had caused serious damage to the social harmony and democratic coexistence in Spain.
The ruling has sparked protests and criticism from the Catalan separatist parties, who accused the court of being biased and politicized. They also reiterated their demand for a new referendum on self-determination, which is opposed by the majority of the Spanish parties and public opinion.
The verdict also complicates the political scenario in Spain, which has been in a stalemate since the July elections, when no party won an outright majority. Sánchez, who has been leading a caretaker government, now faces the challenge of finding alternative partners to form a coalition or calling a new election, which would be the fifth in six years.