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Although less so than yesterday, Pablo Iglesias' comparison between Catalan president in exile Carles Puigdemont and the Spanish republican exiles continues to stir up trouble. Today the vice-president reaffirmed his statements, warning that he will not be added to the campaign to criminalisation Catalan independence, led by other Spanish groups. The Spanish Socialists (PSOE), their partners in the Spanish Government have however, joined in. The spokeswoman for the executive, María Jesús Montero, took the opportunity today to disavow the Podemos leader. "The Spanish exiles defended the current legislation, others chose to break it," said the socialist leader.

Shortly before the cabinet’s press conference, Pablo Iglesias stood by his words. In a brief address to the media, he accepted the criticisms that fell on him "with sportsmanship". He did, however, issue a warning: "If what some want is for me to join in the criminalisation of Catalan independence, I say they already have many politicians for that. I won’t be one of them”.

Moncloa’s reply came few moments later. Spokeswoman María Jesús Montero defended with "absolute firmness", that Spain is "a social state governed by the rule of law" and a "complete democracy". She rejected the idea of politically motivated exiles. She also disavowed the comparison with the republican exiles of Franco’s dictatorship. "The exiles fought for and defended the law, while others chose to break it," replied the socialist leader.

The executive spokeswoman declared that they had been working "since day one" to recover the "dignity" of the republican exiles and that they would continue "to work for their memory". She gave as an example the exhumation of the remains of the dictator Francisco Franco from El Valle de los Caídos, the recovery of the Pazo de Meirás (a manor in Galicia previously belonging to the Franco family) and the fact that the children and grandchildren of exiles can acquire Spanish nationality.

Iglesias’ words

The second vice-president of the Spanish government and leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, compared this Sunday the Catalan president in exile, Carles Puigdemont, with the spanish republican exiles during Francisco Franco’s dictatorship. In an interview on live television, Iglesias stressed that he does not "share in any way" their objectives, but that if Puigdemont is in Brussels, it is not because "he has stolen from anyone or is trying to get rich, but due to taking his political ideas to the wrong extreme".