Sánchez wants to reach out to Catalans

The winner of Spain's general election Pedro Sánchez is seeking a stable government majority and banking on dialogue with the Catalans to achieve it: he has nominated Miquel Iceta, a moderate regionalist from the Socialists' Party of Catalonia, as the new speaker of the Spanish Senate, the parliamentary chamber where the country's regions are represented. The reactions of the press testify to a hardening of the fronts.

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El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Brave gesture

El Periódico de Catalunya praises Sánchez's plan:

“Iceta also implied that he would do something to remedy the dissatisfaction in Catalonia. ... This is also a brave gesture in the midst of three election campaigns [European, regional and local elections] because Sánchez knows he will be lambasted for it by the right-wing media since Iceta has never hidden the fact that he disagrees with prosecuting the separatists for rebellion and keeping them in custody for long periods. In the election campaign for the Catalonian regional elections in 2017 he even talked of some kind of pardon for the separatists in the event of their being convicted. By nominating Iceta, Sánchez has taken a risky step for the sake of dialogue and negotiation.”

ABC (ES) /

Spain's unity should be non-negotiable

ABC, on the other hand, is appalled:

“Iceta has built up an image as a pragmatic politician willing to make compromises, with exemplary negotiating and moderation skills. But the reality is very different. ... Sánchez and Iceta want a return to 2004 when [then prime minister] Zapatero claimed that the concept of nation was 'disputed and disputable' and insisted on recognising Catalonia as a nation. Now the application of Article 155 [which revokes Catalonia's regional autonomy] is receding into the distance, and a phase of untenable concessions for a new territorial project for Spain is beginning. We cannot be fooled by the political rhetoric: Spain's unity is being used as a bargaining chip once more.”