Catalonia’s uncertain political future plunges Spanish government’s popularity

Spanish nationalists held a popular rally on Sunday in Madrid protesting against the government’s ongoing deliberations with Catalan independence representatives. Demonstrators demanded the holding up of early elections in an attempt to decide on the issue of Catalonia’s independence. It is the first and largest in terms of volume demonstration against Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, since his election in June 2018.

The rally was attended by parliament representatives of centre and right-wing parties, fuelled by anger for the government’s ongoing negotiations with Catalonia’s separatist political groups. The march was influenced by a recent governmental initiative to appoint a special rapporteur to discuss with Catalan self-proclaimed authorities the possibility of independence. Opponents of this move consider the socialist government as condoning to Catalan wishes. The protest was attended approximately by 45.000 people.

The Spanish Prime Minister is under pressure by Catalan nationalist groups to hold an independence referendum. Tensions will considerably heighten in the short-run given that judicial proceedings initiate next week against 12 Catalan political representatives arrested during local pro-independence revolts in 2017. These personalities face charges of disrupting public order, conspiring in a secessionist plot and undermining the unity of the Spanish nation. The proposed sentences may reach up to 25 years imprisonment. An eventual conviction of Catalan representatives will be at odds with Spanish government’s dialogue process.

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