Catalan separatists warn socialists that blackmailing ‘won’t work’

“Neither pressure nor blackmailing will work”, Vilalta said, adding that only “concrete results” will be useful to find a “political solution” to the Catalan conflict. [EPA/Toni Albir]

Marta Vilalta, the spokesperson of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), a left-wing Catalan separatist party, on Monday (16 December) warned socialist PSOE party that it won’t be blackmailed in order to facilitate the formation of a “progressive” government between the Spanish socialists and leftist Podemos. EURACTIV’s partner EFE reports.

“Neither pressure nor blackmailing will work”, Vilalta said, adding that only “concrete results” will be useful to find a “political solution” to the Catalan conflict.

PSOE leaders have been locked in meetings with the ERC, which has 14 seats, to convince it to abstain in a motion to proclaim Pedro Sanchez as prime minister.

Sanchez agreed on 12 November to form a “progressive” coalition government with Unidas Podemos, but PSOE and UP only hold 155 of the 350 seats in the lower house and need to make a deal with other parties to get a parliamentary majority.

However, ERC wants concessions in return for its support, asking for the recognition of the right to self-determination for Catalonia.

Right party ‘disappointed’

Meanwhile, the leader of the conservative Partido Popular (PP, EPP) Pablo Casado on Monday expressed his disappointment with Sánchez.  Casado said the socialist politician has decided to move on with a “progressive coalition” with leftist Unidas Podemos.

After a 30-minute meeting at the Moncloa Palace – the seat of the executive – Casado said Sánchez “only asked our abstention”, without offering or suggesting an alternative, such as a “grand coalition” between PSOE, the PP and the centrist Ciudadanos (Ciudadanos, Cs).

However, Casado made it clear that the PP cannot abstain “to allow a socialist government with the communists of (Unidas) Podemos, which would be lethal to Spain”.

A ‘disaster’ to be avoided

In addition, centrist leader (Cs) Inés Arrimadas on Monday offered Sánchez a moderate pact to stabilise the country with four key points: a state pact, a national pact for education, a compromise not to increase taxes and a reform of the Spanish electoral law.

According to Arrimadas, a PSOE-UP coalition with the support or the abstention of ERC would be a “disaster” for Spain that should be avoided at any cost.

[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos |]

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