The focus is on the demands of Carles Puigdemont. He is the one who has the power to decide whether or not to investiture Pedro Sánchez. The opposition assumes that the socialist will give in to all their demands, as it studies the feasibility of an amnesty for the pro-independence defendants. But Sánchez also has limits when it comes to agreeing with Puigdemont and the renunciation of unilateralism will become one of the main obstacles when it comes to reaching an agreement.

During the process, a dissociation took place between what the pro-independence leaders held in public and in private. It was difficult for ERC to detach itself from the inflamed epic rhetoric of those years, to the point of not daring to claim the pardons for a long time for fear that they would be retracted for lack of independence ambition. If the pragmatic turn was difficult with ERC, it is even more so with Puigdemont. Can Sánchez give in to the demand for an amnesty without the former president making it clear that what happened in 2017 will not be repeated?

The “reconciliation” that Moncloa calls for, for it to be so, must concern both parties. Sánchez will propose a political pact for reconciliation that guarantees that independence will stick to legality, while Puigdemont is pursuing a “historic agreement” based on a referendum that includes the option of independence. The PNB also proposes a territorial pact based on a reinterpretation of the Constitution. The journey of Penabists Andoni Ortuzar and Joseba Aurrekoetxea to Waterloo is no less important; the PNB ended its relationship with Puigdemont in 2017 and is recovering it now that it shows its intention to participate in Spanish politics.

The pardons were accepted by society because the majority considered the four years in prison served by the pro-independence leaders, with Oriol Junqueras at the helm, sufficient. But Puigdemont causes more animosity for his belligerence against Spain (he said this week that “it’s rotten”) and he wouldn’t even have gone through a trial. An amnesty will also be read as an amendment to the entirety of the judiciary.

For this reason, Sánchez needs guarantees that Junts will contribute to the detente of the Catalan conflict. Only then will the PSOE have any option to recover from the cost of the investment. And Junts does not currently contribute to that scenario.

Puigdemont has sent contradictory signals. His lawyer and confidant, Gonzalo Boye, tweeted in August against “political purism” and stressed that “the construction must cling to reality and the materials that are available at every moment”. The ex-president, showing off his rhetorical ability, gave a speech that can satisfy both Moncloa and his more radical followers. He avoided including self-determination as a condition for the investiture and alluded to the constitutional framework, but insisted on unilateralism if there is no referendum when the legislature ends. But this week he was more visceral when it came to reacting to the conviction of former interior minister Miquel Buch for having provided him with an escort to Belgium: “The King’s orders to go against all of us remain intact. If you haven’t understood why we will never give up unilateralism and independence, and why we distrust the Spanish State, here is one of the many we have accumulated”.

With demonstrations like this, Sánchez will have many problems to convince his people and explain an eventual agreement. What is worrying for him is not the rejection of the PP or the thick admonitions of Aznar about the breakup of Spain, but what he himself and the PSOE have defended: that there would be no amnesty and that Puigdemont would only return if he presented himself before the justice Getting Junts to take on the wear and tear of renouncing maximalist postulates will not be easy. Every pact has a price. For both parties.