Spanish government to pardon jailed Catalan independence leaders


Catalan Flag.

The Spanish government has announced today that it will pardon the nine Catalan leaders who were jailed for their role in the failed 2017 bid for independence.


Spain's president Pedro Sánchez travelled to Barcelona today to make the announcement. He said that he hopes that the move will encourage "social harmony" and "reconciliation" between pro-independence forces in Catalunya and the Spanish state.


The pardon, which will be authorised in a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, will likely heap significant political pressure on Sánchez whose minority coalition government with Podemos relies heavily on the support of independentist lawmakers in the Congress of Deputies.


The main opposition party, Popular Party, far-right Vox, and centre-right Ciudadanos have been framing the pardon as a capitulation to "separatists".


The leader of the centre-right PP Pablo Casado has previously described any pardoning of the jailed Catalan independence leaders as an act of "betrayal".


Sánchez admitted that while the pardon would not change people's minds on independence, it would help pave the way for new discussions on the future of Catalunya.

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