"Under a Socialist government the independence of Catalonia will not occur." That was the blunt statement from current Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, in a speech on Sunday, in partial response to the large Catalan independence march in Madrid the day before. In his address, he referred to Spain as one of the "most advanced democracies in the world" while, in the same breath, also implying the guilt of the Catalan politicians currently on trial in the country's Supreme Court.
The prime minister made the comments while speaking to the federal committee of the PSOE party, in the process of approving the party's lists for the two electoral dates of the spring: the Spanish general election on 28th April, and the elections at municipal, European and, in some cases, Spanish autonomous level on 26th May.
He once again accused the independence movement of governing against Catalonia and insisted that the only way to reach agreements is via Spain's current constitution. "Social harmony always, independence never," said the Socialist leader. "Dialogue yes, but always within the constitution."
Sánchez argued that "Spain is one of the most advanced democracies in the world", giving as an example the pro-independence demonstration that took place on Saturday in Madrid. "The democracy that guarantees the freedom of protest", he said, "is the same one that judges the politicians who break the constitutional rules and legality," he said.
The Spanish prime minister's comparison, which implies that, although the Catalan politicians are currently being judged, it is known in advance that they broke the law, is not the first statement made by members of the current government which presumes to have advance knowledge of the judges' decision. Deputy PM Carmen Calvo, who made a similar statement in late 2018, can be seen in this video applauding her boss's oratory.
En estos meses ha quedado claro que con un gobierno socialista no se producirá la independencia de #Cataluña. Convivencia siempre, independencia nunca. La única vía para resolver la crisis es la constitucional. Diálogo sí, siempre, dentro de la #Constitución.#LaEspañaQueQuieres pic.twitter.com/OatbOy5DoE— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) 17 de març de 2019