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A hardline speech from José María Aznar, with Pedro Sánchez and Carles Puigdemont as the main targets. The former Spanish prime minister gave a speech this Tuesday at an inaugural event for the FAES think tank in which he referred to the proposed amnesty law in relation to Catalan independence process prosecutions as "constitutional self-destruction" and hinted that the current head of the Spanish executive may have "lost his head" when he opened up to negotiating it. "There is no state that does not make its citizens ashamed when it gives recognition to a fugitive from justice and accepts that a government depends on the will of a coup plotter", said the former leader of the conservative People's Party (PP). Later, the Spanish government accused Aznar himself of making "a coup d'etat call", and urged current PP leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo to distance himself from the former PM's "extremely serious" statements.  

In the event at the public policy centre that he himself presides over, Aznar expressed the view that granting an amnesty from prosecution to those who took part in the Catalan independence process would have the effect of "inviting them to once again organize a unilateral referendum on self-determination". Likewise, he argued that there is currently no state that can be considered democratic that "talks about self-determination, explicitly or covertly, as a concession in order to form a government". Thus, the former Spanish PM has asked the Socialists (PSOE) to stop being "frivolous" about this issue: "There is nothing more perverse than this false normality", he said.

"We must be clear that the danger does not come from outside; it is induced by the PSOE, which has become the precipitant of a syndrome in which those who have to defend the Constitution from [their positions in] government become its main attackers", stated José María Aznar. The former leader of the Spanish political right also accused Pedro Sánchez's party of "wanting to confirm our worst history", causing "the evil of division and failure to appear in Spain sooner or later".

Aznar used the term "constitutional destruction" at various points in his speech, and also had no problem referring to the Catalan independence process as an act of "sedition". And he asserted that the Constitution must, in fact, serve to put a stop to the independence movement. Now, however, in his opinion, an operation is being carried out to "dismantle" the Constitution, to "destroy its legitimacy and reverse a great history of success".

Aznar's call to mobilize: "Say we've had enough"

That is why Aznar also raised his hands to his head when he recalled that last week Spain's second deputy PM, Yolanda Díaz, went to Brussels and met with Carles Puigdemont. "Before, ministers travelled to Brussels to defend our interests and ensure that fugitives from justice were handed over", he said. With regard to this, he noted that he misses the presence of the late PP politician Josep Piqué, a "Catalan, Spanish and European" opposed "to the degradation to which the institutions are condemned".

At the same time, Aznar called for mobilization on this issue, affirming that "once again" it is necessary for people "to say they've had enough". Because, according to the former head of a PP government, "Spain cannot and will not return to a system based on exclusion, sectarianism and the planned destruction of the nation." "We want to live in the success of coexistence, unity, pluralism and the same law for everyone," he said.

Spanish government: "Shameful for ex-PM to make a coup call" 

Speaking after today's meeting of the acting Spanish cabinet, Isabel Rodríguez, spokeswoman for the government of Pedro Sánchez, said that the declarations of the former PP leader were making a "call to a coup". "It is extremely serious that a former prime minsiter makes these statements that are closer to anti-democratic and coup-like behaviour than the words of a former PM," she said this Tuesday at noon.

She went on to urge the current PP leader, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, to explicitly distance himself from Aznar's statements and show his rejection of them. This is necesary, according to Rodríguez, because these calls for insurrection "are not new" and "are repeat offences" on the part of the PP. "What will be next? A call to an uprising?", she asked. The spokesperson minister also recalled that it was Aznar himself who tried to make the Spanish public believe that the perpetrators of the 2004 terrorist attack in Madrid were ETA, and not Al-Qaida. "It is because of all this that he has little credibility and his statements have no political or moral value", Rodríguez concluded.