"Amnesty can only come out of a historic pact, without unilateralism"

On September 4, two weeks ago now, the acting second vice-president of the Spanish Government, Yolanda Díaz (Fene, 1971), changed gears to meet in Brussels with Carles Puigdemont.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
16 September 2023 Saturday 11:18
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"Amnesty can only come out of a historic pact, without unilateralism"

On September 4, two weeks ago now, the acting second vice-president of the Spanish Government, Yolanda Díaz (Fene, 1971), changed gears to meet in Brussels with Carles Puigdemont. The photograph of the meeting had dazzling effects. This meeting has accelerated political time and has also excited, even more, certain moods. The hypothesis of an amnesty for the events of October 2017 has gained momentum and has coagulated an opposition front, led by ex-presidents Felipe González and José María Aznar. González has returned to his acid disagreement with Pedro Sánchez, and Aznar has made a solemn appeal to the "national debate", which has thwarted Alberto Núñez Feijóo's attempts to open channels of communication with Junts per Catalunya. Two weeks after the conversation in Brussels, La Vanguardia interviews Yolanda Díaz.

Was Pedro Sánchez perfectly informed about his trip to Brussels?

The day after the last general elections, I informed the Prime Minister that I would appoint Mr. Jaume Asens as interlocutor with Waterloo. The president and I have fluid conversations almost daily. I cannot reveal, nor will I ever, my conversations with the president, which were before and after the visit to Brussels.

In politics, times are of the essence. Do you think you timed this interview well, a week before September 11th?

Yes, without a doubt. Look, on August 2nd I said that it would be necessary to modify the regulations of the Congress. It might seem strange. This proposal is already underway today...

Does it refer to the use of Catalan in Congress?

Catalan, Galician, Basque and other languages, yes. This announcement, which could have seemed extemporaneous on August 2, I believe is viewed in a different way today. We will comply with the constitutional mandate to offer "special respect and protection" to the linguistic modalities of Spain. All languages ​​will be on an equal footing in the General Courts. I think it's progress. Did I say what I said in the correct political tempo? Think so.

The interview in Brussels had a notable impact and has caused quite a bit of irritation. Former president Felipe González went on a rampage against you in a radio interview. What do you think about this reaction of Gonzalez?

I do not share the reflections of Mr. ex-president of the government. I respect them, but I do not agree at all with some of their ideas. The ex-president has a legal education and I am surprised that he is based on what statements about the amnesty and the Constitution. I have studied the constituent debate. There was a debate about whether or not to include the amnesty explicitly in the Constitution. There was an amendment by the Popular Socialist Party [formation led by Enrique Tierno Galván, which would end up merging with the PSOE], to include it. This amendment did not succeed, which does not mean that amnesty is prohibited in Spain. The constituent decides that a measure of this scope is taken by the ordinary legislator, knowing that it requires an organic law and therefore, a qualified majority. Let's be rigorous.

Is the Government explaining itself well?

I know perfectly well that there are many people who have many doubts and therefore we must face this issue rigorously. First of all, it must be said that there is no single form of amnesty, contrary to what some come to say when they compare the current situation with that of 1977. There are amnesties to facilitate a change of political regime, as happened then, when we went from dictatorship to democracy. There are the so-called "utilitarian amnesties", such as the tax amnesties that, with such generosity, were approved by the Popular Party. And there are amnesties to try to overcome political conflicts, which is the framework in which we find ourselves. We cannot compare the current situation with that of 1977. Those who want to interpret it that way are wrong.

What you are telling us is that there is a narrative void on the part of the current Government.

I agree with this assessment.

During these last weeks, the idea has prevailed that the amnesty for the process would be like that of 1977. Why don't the current Government and the parties that compose it explain better what their plans are?

I am giving this interview today.

We think it's an interesting answer.

I am giving this interview and not by chance... And not by chance at La Vanguardia. But I agree with you. This issue must be tackled with rigor and seriousness. There are many people who have doubts today. What we must understand is that amnesty is not a law, but ends in a law. There is a political conflict that can be the subject of a political and social agreement. A conflict that we should never have come to. And why am I talking about political and social agreement? Because in this agreement there should also be employers and unions, civil society... A broad agreement that would culminate in an organic law. This is the process we can go to. I still remember the day that Mr. Antonio Garamendi, president of the CEOE, took a position in favor of pardons at the Barcelona Economic Circle. The agreement must be broad and allow me to tell you that there is no unilateralism in this agreement.

Are you telling us that Catalan independence must renounce unilateralism?

What I am telling you is that where there is an agreement there is no room for unilateralism. When a party sits down to negotiate, it is renouncing unilateralism.

We will follow this thread. The day after his trip to Brussels, Carles Puigdemont made a speech in the capital of Belgium in which he set out the basic conditions of Junts for the investiture. In that speech he used an expression that will sound familiar to you: "Historical commitment". You come from a party, the PCE, which cultivated this expression, of Italian origin, in the seventies. What did you think when you heard it?

I had heard it before from Mr. Puigdemont. I had heard it the day before, when we met.

Historical compromise meant pact between antagonists, with waivers. Do you think that Mr. Puigdemont conceives this expression in the same way as you or that the generation that signed the Moncloa pacts?

I cannot reproduce my conversations with Mr. Puigdemont, in the same way that I do not reproduce my conversations with the Prime Minister, with Mr. Garamendi or with the unions. But it is clear that when someone invokes the doctrine of historical commitment, they are talking about a pact. A pact that has to do with reconciliation, with peaceful coexistence. A pact that has to do with living better. They will find me in this pact.

Recapitulating You informed the Prime Minister well about your visit to Brussels...

I talk daily with the Prime Minister...

...He considers that the time was right and he thinks that he needs to explain himself better...

Narrative and facts. I am talking about a political and social agreement that must win the support of society...

And he agrees with Carles Puigdemont that there is the possibility of a historic compromise. ..


Does the Socialist Party have the same narrative will?

It is not for me to assess this point.

The Basque president Iñigo Urkullu has put it another way, with the proposal of a "constitutional convention" that reinterprets the territorial model. What do you think?

I think it's an interesting idea. I have asked for a meeting with Lehendakari Urkullu.

It seems that the next legislature, if it doesn't die, will be the legislature of territorial debates.

I don't agree. Spain advances when territorial and social issues go hand in hand.

How do you rate the attitude of the Popular Party at the moment?

The PP has abdicated politics to devote itself to pitting half of Spain against the other half. Now they are doing it again and I think it is very serious. Núñez Feijóo tried to introduce some correction to this direction and they did not let him. We already have Aznar giving instructions. Aznar is the one in charge in this match. Under the baton of Aznar, the PP is today working against Feijóo. Feijóo's leadership fades. Can you imagine a former president of Germany or France calling for rebellion?

Do you share the words of the government spokesperson accusing Aznar of "coup"-like maneuvers?

I said this week that Mr. Aznar is not working for the investiture of Feijóo, but for an impeachment process. His appeal to "rebellion" is very serious.

Have the PSOE and Sumar begun to negotiate on the future?

The only thing I can say is that Sumar's ambition is not limited to consolidating what we have advanced during the previous legislature. People want more rights and more social policies. This will be the flag of Sumar.

Are ministries being negotiated?

We are not talking about the composition of the Government, we are not talking about ministries now...