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PEDRO SÁNCHEZ

Spain’s Prime Minister to star in his own documentary series

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez will be the protagonist of a new documentary series which will look at the inner workings of the Spanish government and offer a glimpse into the daily and personal life of the head of government. 

Spain's Prime Minister to star in his own documentary series
Spain's Prime minister Pedro Sánchez, seen here talking with soldiers in Latvia during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, has not yet commented on his participation in the documentary. (Photo by Toms Norde / AFP)

Titled La Moncloa, in reference to the Spanish equivalent of the White House or 10 Downing Street, the four-part docuseries is reportedly in the middle of shooting, with filmmakers following Sánchez and his team of staff as they carry out their daily routine in government.

According to the two production studios behind the project, Secuoya Studios and The Pool, the documentary will “show two facets, the institutional side and the human side”.

It reportedly won’t consist of “purely political or ideological arguments” but rather be “an observational story, which will focus on the more personal and everyday aspects” of life for those in the Spanish government.

A release date for the docuseries has not yet been announced, nor the streaming platform or TV channel on which it will air, but the producers have advanced that the narrative and visual proposal will transit between documentary and factual cinema.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who is currently focusing on the war in Ukraine, has not offered any comment on his participation in the project so far.

The documentary will be directed by Curro Sánchez Varela, the son of famed Spanish guitarist Paco de Lucía, who has extensive experience directing short films, commercials and music videos.

His 2015 documentary about his father – La Búsqueda – won him Spain’s Goya Award for Best Documentary.

“We’re living through strange times, so having the possibility of having such transparent, free and honest access into the day-to-day of the Presidency of Spain’s Government makes us appreciate more than ever the fact that we’re living in a democratic country, in which its citizens are guaranteed their freedoms,” Varela is quoted as saying by radio station Onda Cero.

Sánchez and his wife María Begoña Gómez Fernández outside 10 Downing Street in London in 2019. (Photo by Niklas HALLE’N / AFP)

Even though Sánchez will be one of the main protagonists of the series, Varela says the project is also about “honouring and giving prestige to the team of workers who, in many cases, have been working for more than four decades at the service of different prime ministers in La Moncloa.

Sánchez, who was born in Madrid in 1952, is the head of Spain’s socialist PSOE party and has been Prime Minister since 2018. He is married and has two daughters.

Referred to as ‘Mr Handsome’ in the British and US press, Pedro Sánchez has won admirers around the world for his good looks, which may help the documentary series get some attention overseas.

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SPANISH POLITICS

Far-right Vox leads mass protests against Spain’s government

Tens of thousands of supporters from Spain's far-right Vox party demonstrated nationwide on Sunday to protest Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's leftist government.

Far-right Vox leads mass protests against Spain's government

Police said 25,000 people gathered in central Madrid’s Colon Square, where protesters unfurled flags and called on Sánchez to go, while demonstrations also took place in cities across Spain.

Vox leader Santiago Abascal denounced a “government of treason, insecurity and ruin” after recent changes to the criminal code and the approval of a new law against sexual violence.

READ MORE: Why Spain’s right is vehemently opposed to changes to sedition law

He lambasted the planned abolition of the crime of sedition, of which nine separatist leaders were convicted over their role in the Catalonia region’s abortive secession bid in 2017. An offence carrying a lower prison sentence will replace it.

“We have a government that governs against the people, lowers prison sentences for crimes, disarms the police,” Abascal told his followers in the Spanish capital.

The right believes the modified criminal code, which should be in place by the end of the year, will encourage further attempts to separate the northeastern Catalonia region from Spain.

“We are being governed by separatists, people who don’t want to be Spanish, that’s why I’m here,” said protester Cesar Peinado, a 65-year-old retired truck driver, accusing the government of “buying votes”.

Abascal said sexual assaults had doubled since Socialist premier Sánchez took power in 2018 and denounced a law he claimed allowed rapists and paedophiles to leave prison earlier.

READ MORE: Why is Spain reducing prison sentences for rapists?

He was referring to a flagship government law against sexual violence that toughened penalties for rape but eased sentences for other sexual crimes, setting some convicts free after their jail terms were reduced.

Supporters of far-right party Vox Santiago Abascal (unseen) hold a placard reading “liar, elections now” as they gather during an anti-government protest in Madrid, on November 27th 2022. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP)

María Dolores López, 58, told AFP she could “no longer put up with what this government is doing”, citing its policy towards the Catalan separatists and its law against sexual violence.

“It isn’t a coincidence that there’s no security either,” Abascal added, denouncing “a crazy minister who makes a law with the approval of the entire government, the political and media left so that rapists and paedophiles end up on the streets”.

The ruling left-wing coalition has long drawn the ire of the right and far right for initiating a dialogue with Catalonia’s pro-independence leaders, with large protests taking place in 2019 and 2021 over the talks.

Lacking a parliamentary majority, Sánchez’s government has been forced since its formation to negotiate with Basque and Catalan separatists to pass bills.

The coalition says sedition is an antiquated offence that should be replaced with one better aligned to European norms.

The nine Catalan separatists initially sentenced to between nine and 13 years in prison under the sedition law were pardoned last year, also infuriating the right.

The failed independence bid sparked Spain’s worst political crisis in decades, with then-Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and several others fleeing abroad to escape prosecution.

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