Spain Parliament Passes Controversial Amnesty Bill


Spain parliament passes controversial amnesty bill

Madrid, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 30th May, 2024) Spain's parliament gave the final green light to a controversial amnesty bill for Catalan separatists Thursday, paving the way for the return of their figurehead Carles Puigdemont after years of self-imposed exile.

The legislation seeks to draw a line under years of efforts to prosecute those involved in the botched 2017 Catalan independence bid that triggered Spain's worst political crisis in decades.

The text, which has been resolutely opposed by Spain's right and far-right opposition, passed by 177 votes in favour to 172 votes against in the 350-seat parliament. One person was absent from the vote.

Passing the amnesty is a key moment for Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, as it was a demand made by separatist parties in exchange for their parliamentary support to allow him to serve a new term.

In March, Spain's lower house of parliament passed the bill, which grants an amnesty to hundreds of separatists involved in Catalonia's failed 2017 independence bid.

It then went to the Senate upper house, which is dominated by the right-wing opposition, where it was symbolically vetoed -- as the Senate cannot block a bill, but only propose amendments -- before returning to the lower house on Thursday morning.

Following a rowdy two-and-a-half hour debate during which the Speaker was forced to call order several times due to the insults traded on the floor, the bill passed.

It will now be up to individual judges to decide whether the amnesty applies to their cases. They have two months to raise issues with the Constitutional Court or the European justice system which could delay the law's implementation for some time.