Spanish leader’s softly softly approach to Catalonia pays off

Pedro Sánchez is winning on Catalonia — but his approach is risky and could lead to a snap election.

The Spanish prime minister’s decision to take a softer stance toward Catalan separatists than his predecessor has accentuated the divisions among independence leaders in the region whose lack of cohesion was on display this week as they celebrated the anniversary of last year’s outlawed referendum.

On Monday night, some small radical groups — frustrated by Catalan officials’ failure to deliver on their promise of independence — clashed with regional police as they attempted to storm the regional parliament in Barcelona.

Regional President Quim Torra — who was both cheered and booed in the street on Monday — is struggling to keep separatist forces united. On Tuesday, he demanded Madrid come up with a plan for a secession vote before November.

“If a proposal to exert self-determination in an agreed, binding and internationally recognized manner isn’t on the table before November,” Torra warned, “independence [forces] won’t be able to guarantee the slightest stability for Mr. Pedro Sánchez in the Congress of Deputies.”