– This gives us an opportunity to turn the page, says the Prime Minister.
The speech, which takes place in front of regional dignitaries at the famous Lisieux opera house, began shortly after twelve on Monday.
There was an intense silence in the hall as Sanchez began to speak. As soon as the amnesty was announced, several shouts were heard in the hall from opponents of the decision.
To reach an agreement, someone must take the first step. Sanchez says the government is now taking the first step.
The amnesty for nine prominent separatists arrested as a result of Catalonia’s declaration of independence from Spain in 2017 sparked heated emotions.
According to an Ipsos poll, a slim majority, 53 percent, opposes the amnesty. However, 68 percent of Catalans support such a decision, according to the poll.
In recent weeks, Sanchez has tried to rally support for his decision, which he believes is the key to overcoming the political deadlock.
The confrontation did not help solve any problems, says Sanchez in his speech in Barcelona.
– We want to resume political dialogue.
But critics say he only wants to secure his power because his minority government relies partly on separatist parties.
The prime minister says he understands the arguments against the amnesty, but stresses that such a decision opens a way forward in discussions about the Catalonia crisis. He also asserts that the possibility of pardon has long been guaranteed in the constitution and that pardon does not question the judges themselves.
The amnesty must first be approved at a government meeting a week before it goes into effect.