Member of the European Parliament, Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont gives a press conference September 2023. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET


Spanish opposition may negotiate ‘conditional pardon’ for Puigdemont


Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the leader of the Spanish opposition, would be open to negotiate a “conditional pardon” to former president of the Catalonia region, MEP Carles Puigdemont, according to leaks from the Partido Popular (PP).

Any such pardon would apparently be part of a so-called “real reconciliation” plan for Catalonia.

Feijóo was at pains to emphasise that “reconciliation” should not be confused with “impunity.”

According to reports on February 10, the “conditions” for a pardon would include a trial of Puigdemont, his statement of  “repentance” for his actions – among them, declaring Catalonia an independent state in 2017 – respect for the principle of legality and a “commitment” to the rule of law.

This would in effect mean Puigdemont would have to relinquish any further unilateral secessionist attempts, should they arise.

Feijóo’s opinion was leaked publicly a week after the Spanish Parliament voted down a controversial amnesty law that would have pardoned previously convicted Catalan secessionists, including Puigdemont.

His Junts per Catalunya party joined the opposition in opposing the Amnesty Law over what it claimed were its “lack of guarantees.”

The latest revelations have sent shockwaves through the PP.

Since the summer of 2023, the centre-right party had organised major mobilisations in Spain’s largest cities against amnesties for the convicted Catalonian separatists.

The protests came ahead of Galicia’s regional elections, due to take place on February 18, which will likely determine whether the Northwestern region will remain a stronghold for the PP.

Feijóo, a Galician native, was president of Galicia for 13 years, from 2009 to 2022.

To make matters more complicated for Feijóo, Puigdemont posted an article on ‘X’ where he claimed the Spanish justice systems was conducting a “witch hunt” against him.

According to the Catalan leader: “If we had made Feijóo president, all this would not happen.”

The European Parliament, in the interim, has voted for a non-binding resolution to investigate Puigdemont’s links to the Kremlin.

The National High Court of Spain revealed in late January that close aides to Puigdemont allegedly had “access to high-level Russian officials”.

The Catalans , it is claimed, “knew about Russia’s plan to invade Ukraine” four years before the incursion.

On the Galician campaign trail, Feijóo accused the Pedro Sánchez-led Spanish Government of trying to “stain the campaign”.

“There are no conditions to pardon the leaders of the Catalan” separatist procés, he stated.

Santiago Abascal, the president of the VOX party, accused Feijóo and the PP of “negotiating under the table with Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya.”

The Conservative leader added that was “a great scam against the Spanish people”.

According to RTVE, it took Feijóo 24 hours in August to “study, consider, but ultimately reject supporting the Amnesty Law for being ‘unconstitutional’.”

“If they will not oppose the coup, they should step aside,” Abascal said.