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News > World

President Aragones Defends Amnesty and Referendum in Catalonia

  • Catalan President Pere Aragones (C), Oct. 19, 2023.

    Catalan President Pere Aragones (C), Oct. 19, 2023. | Photo: X/ @perezpuerto52

Published 19 October 2023

"Catalonia is a European, civic, democratic nation that wants to decide peacefully, freely," he pointed out.

On Thursday, Catalan president Pere Aragones defended the amnesty for the pro-independence politicians prosecuted for the 2017 referendum and called for a referendum in Catalonia, agreed upon with the Spanish government, similar to the one held in Scotland in 2014.


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Aragones spoke in the General Committee of the Autonomous Communities of the Upper House before the representatives of the other regional presidents, except those from the Socialist Party, who were not present.

In addition to advocating for amnesty, a key issue in the negotiations for the investiture of the socialist Pedro Sanchez as the Spanish Prime Minister, the leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) expressed confidence that the Catalans will vote in a referendum.

"And they will do so by will, perseverance, and democracy. Always with an outstretched hand and always with hands free," he emphasized at the end of his speech, which was entirely in Catalan. Afterward, he left the Senate without making any statements.

The text reads, "It's not a war, it's a genocide! Freedom for Palestine!!! There are thousands of us in front of the EU headquarters in Barcelona. With all our hearts."

Aragones began his speech by reproaching the conservative Popular Party (PP) for its partisan use of Catalonia.

The PP, which has a majority in the Senate, had convened the Committee to denounce any concessions that Sanchez might make to Catalonia at the expense of other Spanish autonomous communities in his negotiations to remain at the helm of the government.

"The real objective of this session is nothing more than using Catalonia for partisan battles at the level of the Spanish state, to once again stir up anti-Catalan sentiment to wear down the adversary. No matter who is in power, Catalonia is always used to scrape together a few votes," Aragones denounced.

Contrary to what the Spanish nationalist right claims, Catalonia is "a European, civic, democratic nation that wants to decide peacefully, freely, among all the options, with democracy and recognition," he pointed out.

For Aragones, amnesty for those prosecuted for the illegal 2017 referendum is "essential to advance in the resolution of the political conflict" and "put an end to the general crackdown on independence."

However, he warned that amnesty is "a starting point," not "an endpoint" of a process that, in his view, "has a destination: allowing the citizens of Catalonia to vote on independence."

Aragones stressed his willingness to agree to a "referendum like the one held in Scotland" in 2014, negotiated between the Scottish authorities and the British government.

He reminded those who were "shocked" by amnesty for the prosecuted independence activists of "the 6,000 pardons" granted by former prime ministers Felipe Gonzalez (1982-1996) and Jose Maria Aznar (1996-2004) to "convicts of corruption or state terrorism."

Aragones also mentioned the 1977 amnesty law, which "prevents the investigation of the crimes of the Spanish dictatorship."


Pere Aragones
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