Podemos meets with Catalan nationalists on behalf of Madrid


Podemos meets with Catalan nationalists on behalf of Madrid

Alejandro López

27 June 2018

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias met Catalan regional premier Quim Torra Monday in an attempt to work out a deal between the regional Catalan authorities in Barcelona and the new minority Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) government in Madrid.

The meeting showed that a key purpose of the installation of the PSOE, in which Podemos played a leading role, was to try to put a more “democratic” face on the brutal police repression last October of the Catalan independence referendum. Iglesias acted throughout as an emissary of PSOE Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

After nearly a decade of escalating conflict between Madrid and Barcelona over how to impose European Union (EU) austerity, violent conflict erupted last year in Catalonia. Madrid declared the independence referendum illegal. The right-wing Popular Party (PP) government tried and failed to crush the referendum, mounting a massive police crackdown on peaceful voters that left nearly 1,000 people injured. With declarations of support from the PSOE, the PP arrested Catalan nationalist leaders and imposed an unelected government.

After January elections held under this police jackboot led to Torra’s installation, and after Podemos helped install the PSOE in power, Iglesias is now trying to smooth over the conflicts on the basis of accepting Madrid’s anti-democratic policies in Catalonia. He said, “My will is to help ensure that there is a climate of understanding between the Spanish Government and the Catalan political forces.”

Details of the hour and a half discussion in the Catalan government headquarters emerged after the meeting during the press conference. A key issue discussed was the jailing of Catalan nationalist…

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