Spanish outrage at Pedro Sánchez's contentious amnesty scheme for power

The violence of daily demonstrations by the right wing against the interim prime minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, has escalated.

The escalating tensions that ensue as he endeavours to negotiate a contentious amnesty law are highlighted.

Tuesday, approximately 7,000 protesters congregated in front of the Socialist party headquarters of Mr. Sánchez in Madrid.

Anticipated outcome: an investiture vote that will enable him to form a new government and prevent a re-election. That is only possible with the support of Catalan separatists in parliament.

Mr. Sánchez posted a defiant message on social media amidst clashes between police and demonstrators on Tuesday night: "They will not destroy the Socialist Party."

In recent times, daily demonstrations have occurred in the Spanish capital and other cities, however, this one was the most violent to date, resulting in the injuries of ten protesters and 29 police officers.

In the general election of July, the Socialists finished in a secondary position, trailing the conservative People's Party (PP). In September, however, an investiture vote failed to enable PP leader Alberto Nez Feijóo to establish a government.

He received only the support of the far-right Vox among the major parties.

At this juncture, the stage is set for Mr. Sánchez to emerge victorious in the parliamentary vote and establish a coalition government alongside the left-leaning alliance Sumar.

He requires the support of numerous regional parties, including the pro-independence Together for Catalonia (JxCat) and the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), to secure the investiture.

These two political parties have requested amnesty in return for the release of hundreds of Catalan politicians and activists who are primarily at risk of legal repercussions for their involvement in the unsuccessful attempt to secede from Spain in 2017. 

Carles Puigdemont of JxCat, the former premier of Catalonia and leader of the independence movement six years ago, is among those who would benefit from the legislation.

Having resided in Belgium since then, he is beyond the jurisdiction of the Spanish judiciary.

The amnesty was announced by Mr. Sánchez as the most recent of a series of initiatives implemented by his administration to alleviate tensions in Catalonia concerning the territorial dispute.

Nine leaders incarcerated for their involvement in the unsuccessful secession attempt were granted pardons by his administration in 2021.

Subsequently, the penal code was amended to exclude the offence of sedition and modify the offence of misappropriation of public funds, modifications that favoured Catalan separatist leaders.

The Socialist leader has been accused by the right-wing opposition of utilising the amnesty solely to ensure his political survival.

Furthermore, it has contended that the initiative infringes upon the constitution and incites Catalan separatists to recommence their endeavour at secession, thereby endangering the territorial cohesion of Spain.

Mr. Sánchez was deemed "a threat to Spanish constitutional democracy" by former PP prime minister José María Aznar, whereas Mr. Núñez Feijóo characterised the amnesty as "democratic insanity."

Both parties have issued calls for their supporters to demonstrate against the initiative in the streets.

Conservative members of the oversight body General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) approved a motion that cautioned against potential threats to democracy, fundamental liberties, and the rule of law.

One member with a left-leaning inclination abstained from attendance for the duration of the session and cast a vote in opposition to the motion.