Spain’s former president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has rejected claims that pro-independence leaders attempted a coup d’état when they organized a referendum and declared independence last year, as maintained by some unionist parties. “Theirs was a trip to nowhere, which overpassed the limits of politics,” said Zapatero in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. “But they didn’t do a coup d’état.”

Zapatero believes that current president Pedro Sánchez, also a member of the Socialist party, needs to make a “great effort to establish dialogue” with pro-independence parties. As for now, “there’s been almost no dialogue” he claims.

In response to Ciutadans and People’s Party, two parties demanding the suspension of Catalonia’s self-rule, Zapatero stresses that imposing direct rule from Madrid won’t solve the Catalan crisis because “political problems can only be solved through dialogue.”