Iglesias admits Catalan referendum won’t be “red line” for coalition government in Spain

“Our policy is clear, but we’ll be happy to consider better ones”, says Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias on the subject of Catalan independence

Pablo Iglesias, the Unidos Podemos candidate in the Spanish elections of June 26, has always made it clear that he will strive for Catalonia to remain in Spain, even though he is committed to respecting Catalonia’s right to decide its own future. At a massive rally in Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf last Saturday, Iglesias emphasised that “we will always stand by your right to decide, because we believe in democracy”. However, Iglesias’ promise became more nuanced during the Monday night debate with the other three main election candidates on Spanish TV.

On the one hand, Iglesias has backed the demand for a self-determination referendum in Catalonia arguing that “you cannot fear democracy” and claiming that such a vote would be fully constitutional. But, on the other hand, he has assured that this referendum would not become a “red line” in the ensuing talks to form a coalition government in Spain after the elections later this month. “Our policy is clear, but we’ll be happy to consider better ones”, Iglesias admitted, and he added that “you can never set any red lines in a government negotiation”.

Iglesias’ words came in reply to PSOE candidate Pedro Sánchez —his preferred partner in a hypothetical shared government—, who had accused Podemos of making self-determination a priority over a progressive coalition. Besides, both Sánchez and Ciudadanos candidate Albert Rivera had slammed Podemos for having independence supporters in their ranks. Nevertheless, Iglesias showed his willingness to “establish a dialogue with the PSOE and the nationalist parties” so as to find “a new solution” for Catalonia because “the policy of doing nothing has had a multiplying effect on the number of independence supporters”, he said.

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