• Socialist promises Constitutional recognition of Catalonia’s ‘unique’ stature
• Post-election ‘Pact with Catalonia’ would expand regional self-government
In a further sign that the Socialist party (PSOE) is hinging much of its 26th June (26-J) general election hopes on recovering PSOE centre-left voters in Catalonia who last year defected to pro-independence forces or rival anti-austerity party Podemos, PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez on Monday pledged that if elected he will deliver a “political Pact with Catalonia” to include a reform of Spain’s Constitution that will recognize the region’s unique stature within the Spanish state and expand its powers of self-government.
The strongest indication yet by the Socialist party leader as to his intentions regarding Catalonia, the pledge was made in the presentation of a campaign document titled Compromisos para un ‘Sí’ al Gobierno del cambio (Commitments toward a ‘Yes’ for a government of change), and is seen by observers as tacit agreement that a new PSOE-led government will respect and reinstate the “historic rights” of Catalonia recognized in the 2013 reform of the region’s governing Estatut, approved during the PSOE administration of former Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
Sánchez’s promise for a post-election “political Pact with Catolonia” comes as the new head of the 26-J regional ticket for the PSOE-affiliate Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC), Maritxell Batet, has been pounding the pre-campaign trail daily in an effort to lure back the centre-left vote that the PSOE steadily lost in Catalonia over the course of 2015 municipal, regional and general election campaigns. On Sunday, PSC general secretary Miguel Iceta took the unusual step of participating in a protest march over court cases being heard by Spain’s Constitutional Tribunal, which included participation by large numbers of Catalan independence supporters and display of Catalan estelada independence flags by many protesters.
► Read PSOE’s Spanish-language ‘Compromisos para un SÍ …’