As Spain braces for another snap election after months of fruitless negotiations, the Ciudadanos (Cs) has made a surprise proposal to prevent fresh polls: enabling a Socialist (PSOE) government if Pedro Sánchez rules out using his presidential powers to pardon the Catalan leaders awaiting verdict in the independence referendum trial.
Cs leader Albert Rivera called on the People’s Party (PP), the other major right-wing party in the Spanish Congress, to facilitate Sánchez’s presidency as a ‘state solution’ – a double-edged proposal that could either save Spain from another election, or present Rivera as a statesman in the upcoming election campaign if the offer is rejected.
Sánchez appeared to welcome Rivera’s proposal later on Monday, implicitly accepting the conditions by saying that ‘there are no real obstacles for Cs and PP to abstain’.
Rivera, an implacable detractor of the independence movement, has repeatedly warned against Sánchez using his presidential powers to pardon Catalan politicians and activists on trial for their role in the 2017 independence bid.
Catalan president Quim Torra called Rivera’s proposal ‘shameful’. He also dismissed Sánchez’s response as ‘obscene’.