The Government relies on the penal codes of France, Italy or Portugal to justify a reduction in sentences that does not affect “political corruption”
Neither the declared fear of a large part of the PSOE of punishment by its electorate nor the reluctance shown by a large part of the parliamentary allies have been any brake. The Government is already looking for ways to make it possible for the elimination of the crime of sedition from the Criminal Code to be added a reform of embezzlement that prevents second-level charges from the Catalan Administration pending trial for their role in the ‘procés’ go to jail or even that the leader of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, Oriol Junqueras, sees the penalty of disqualification for public office that weighs on him reduced or eliminated until July 2031.
It was the Prime Minister himself who pointed in that direction this Tuesday during an informal conversation with journalists during the reception offered in Congress for Constitution Day. Sánchez confirmed that he expects this Friday an ERC amendment to the bill that the PSOE and Unidas Podemos registered in the lower house a few weeks ago after a discreet and parallel negotiation with the Republicans on the Budgets. And he opened up to supporting it under one condition, that it does not imply “any setback in terms of democratic regeneration” and that, therefore, does not result in a reduction in sentences for cases of “political corruption.”
This is a question that worries socialists especially and that not all see as easy to comply with. Some appeal to the experience of the ‘only yes is yes’ law to warn of the possible collateral and undesired effects of a change in the Penal Code that affects such a sensitive matter. It is true that when in 2015 the PP toughened the law to group embezzlement, misappropriation and unfair administration (which does not imply its own profit or that of third parties) under the same heading, the Socialists already presented an amendment that distinguished the punishment attributable to one or the other behavior. But now there is fear of going back into that terrain.
The head of the Executive argued that in “comparative law” formulas can be found that go in the direction demanded by his partners in the legislature. Sources from the Ministry of the Presidency point specifically to the penal codes of France, Italy and Portugal. In this case, contrary to sedition, the German case that precisely inspired the modification of the embezzlement carried out by the popular ones is not appealed to, within a broader reform, which introduced the controversial revisable permanent prison in the legal system. Spanish.
While waiting for the text that ERC can present, the Government proposes the following hypothesis: “Let’s think of a mayor who receives European funds to digitize his town hall and allocates those resources to pay salaries because his consistory has no money. That would not be corruption. Does it make sense to penalize that mayor the same as Luis Bárcenas (the former PP treasurer convicted of the ‘Gürtel case)? The example is, however, not very enlightening because in the case of those convicted and prosecuted by the ‘procés’, public money was not allocated to ordinary unbudgeted expenses but to finance a referendum that had been prohibited by the Constitutional Court.
What government sources also insist on is that the eventual embezzlement reform would be limited in such a way that it will not allow those convicted of the ‘ERE case’ such as the former president of the Andalusian Government José Antonio Griñán, to benefit from it. despite the fact that the Chief Executive himself has defended on numerous occasions that his behavior cannot be classified in any case as corruption because, fundamentally, he did not enrich himself personally.
Sánchez has assumed that changing the law to favor a politician from his own party would be misunderstood. On the other hand, yesterday he insisted that his gestures towards Catalan secessionism, on which he depends to guarantee present and future governability, not only will have no cost (something that is not shared by a notable part of the PSOE) but that he will be rewarded at the polls. What’s more, he affirmed that Catalonia will be one of his main “assets”. “We inherited a very complex situation. We took very important steps with the grace measures (the partial pardon for the leaders of the ‘procés’ convicted by the Supreme Court) and with this – it was reaffirmed – we are definitely going to open a new stage in Catalonia, more political”.
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