clearn.png
Friday February 28th, 2020 7:37PM

Budget defeat puts Spain's center-left government on ropes

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

MADRID (AP) — Catalan separatist and right-wing lawmakers in the Spanish parliament's lower house rejected Wednesday the ruling Socialist government's 2019 budget plan, likely paving the way for Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to call an early election.

The 191-158 vote, with one abstention, opened a new crisis in Spanish politics. Members of Sanchez's Cabinet had signaled that a defeat in the budget vote would lead to a fresh general election.

The only other time a Spanish government lost a budget vote, in 1995, the Socialists were forced to dissolve the parliament and call an election.

The prime minister's office said Sanchez plans to announce his decision after the weekly Cabinet meeting Friday.

Opposition leader Pablo Casado, head of the conservative People's Party, said Wednesday's vote was "a de facto confidence vote against Pedro Sanchez."

Catalan deputies from pro-independence parties had demanded to open talks on the northeastern region's self-determination in exchange for supporting Sanchez's spending proposal, but the center-left minority government rejected the demand.

The socialist party holds only 84 seats in the 350-seat lower house. Its votes and those of the anti-austerity Podemos party weren't enough to counter a majority of center-right, conservative and smaller parties voting in favor of six blanket objections.

Sanchez became prime minister in June when the Catalans joined the anti-austerity Podemos and other smaller parties in backing a no-confidence vote against his conservative predecessor, Mariano Rajoy.

Without parliamentary support, Sanchez's government can't pass significant legislation and would need to prolong Rajoy's 2018 spending plan. That leaves the center-left administration without funds for social policies that are key to retaining Podemos' support.

Sanchez rushed out of the lower house's chamber shortly after the vote, dodging questions by reporters.

His finance minister, Maria Jesus Montero, said it made sense for Sanchez's term in office, which normally would end next year, to shortened with the budget rejection — but that it was up to the prime minister himself to decide if and when to call an election early.

"We want elections now," Albert Rivera, leader of the center-right Citizens party, said after the vote.

Talks between Sanchez's government and a new separatist coalition that took power in Catalonia after 2017's failed independence push broke down last week when the government refused to accept self-determination talks.

"Sooner or later we will have to negotiate a solution, a democratic solution," said Joan Tarda, a prominent Catalan pro-independence lawmaker.

The People's Party and Citizens party, along with members of the emerging far-right party Vox, have urged Sanchez to step down for relying on support from separatist Catalan lawmakers to remain in government.

The trial of a dozen politicians and activists who drove a breakaway attempt in Catalonia in the fall of 2017 opened Tuesday. Their prosecution has angered many supporters of the region's independence from Spain.

On the second day of the politically charged trial, a Supreme Court prosecutor criticized what he said were defense lawyers' attempts to turn the proceedings into an examination of the Spanish state and judiciary.

Prosecutor Javier Zaragoza called the arguments made a day earlier "ridiculous" and "unjustified." Defense lawyers said Tuesday the case was politically motivated and an attempt to eliminate dissent in Catalonia.

The 12 Catalan politicians and activists face years behind bars if they are convicted of rebellion or other charges for having pushed ahead with a unilateral independence declaration that opened an unprecedented political crisis in Spain.

__

AP's coverage of tensions between Spain and its northeastern Catalonia region here: https://apnews.com/Catalonia

Follow Aritz Parra on Twitter: @aritzparra

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, AP World News, AP Business
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US, Poland launch Mideast conference despite uncertain aims
The United States and Poland are kicking off an international conference on the Middle East amid uncertainty over its aims and questions about what it will deliver
7:52AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Budget defeat puts Spain's center-left government on ropes
Catalan separatist and right-wing lawmakers in the Spanish parliament's lower house rejected Wednesday the ruling Socialist government's 2019 budget plan, paving the way for a possible call of early elections by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez
7:43AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Iran's supreme leader says any talks with US can only 'harm'
Iran's supreme leader: Any negotiations with US 'will bring nothing but ... harm' in remarks ahead of US-led summit
7:26AM ( 44 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
US, China envoys hold talks before Trump tariff decision
US and Chinese trade envoys meet this week for their last negotiations before President Donald Trump decides whether to go ahead with a March 2 tariff hike on $200 billion of imports from China
7:07AM ( 1 hour ago )
Unhappy with deal, Trump still doesn't expect a new shutdown
Trump says he's not expecting another government shutdown, a signal that he's leaning toward accepting a budget compromise
7:06AM ( 1 hour ago )
3 siblings bond through March For Our Lives after shooting
The three Deitsch siblings have devoted long hours to the March for Our Lives movement since the Parkland school shooting last year
6:40AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Australia to reopen island detention camp after refugee bill
Australia to reopen a mothballed island detention camp in anticipation of new migrant smuggling attempts after Parliament bill gives sick asylum seekers easier access to mainland hospitals
10:47PM ( 9 hours ago )
Trump: Congresswoman Omar's apology for Israel remark 'lame'
President Donald Trump says freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar's apology for suggesting that members of Congress support Israel because they are being paid to do so was "lame" and she should resign
9:51PM ( 10 hours ago )
McConnell wields Green New Deal as bludgeon against Dems
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will vote on the Green New Deal, a sweeping plan by Democrats to combat climate change
9:26PM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Separatists to put Spain's minority government on the ropes
Spain's prime minister could be forced to call an early general election if Catalan separatists reject as expected the minority socialist government's spending proposal for 2019 in a crucial parliamentary vote Wednesday
5:54AM ( 2 hours ago )
Klobuchar raises $1M within 48 hours of launching 2020 bid
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar's campaign says the Democrat raised more than $1 million in the 48 hours after launching her presidential bid
9:11PM ( 11 hours ago )
Trial of Catalan separatists begins in Madrid amid protests
A politically charged trial of a dozen Catalan separatist leaders is underway in Spain's Supreme Court amid protests and the possibility of an early general election being called in the country
6:34PM ( 13 hours ago )
AP Elections
Thai polls regulator heeds king, blocks princess' candidacy
Thailand's state Election Commission has disqualified the sister of the country's king from becoming a candidate for prime minister in the March 24 general election
11:50PM ( 1 day ago )
GOP candidate withdraws challenge for Kentucky House seat
Republican candidate DJ Johnson has withdrawn his challenge of a close Kentucky state House race
5:17PM ( 4 days ago )
Democrats and GOP square off over Trump's tax returns
With Democrats now controlling the House and holding the legal key to seeking President Donald Trump's tax returns, Republican lawmakers are invoking privacy in defending Trump's flank
12:33AM ( 5 days ago )
General Election News
Global shares mostly higher on hopes for US-China trade deal
Global shares mostly higher on hopes for US-China trade deal
7:12AM ( 58 minutes ago )
Iran's supreme leader says talks with US can only 'harm'
Iran's supreme leader: Negotiations with US 'will bring nothing but ... harm' in remarks ahead of US-led summit
6:51AM ( 1 hour ago )
France details yellow vest protests' impact on economy
The French government says it has provided 38 million euros ($43 million) in financial aid for workers who have been put on reduced work hours as businesses struggle with anti-government protests
6:48AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP World News
Lawyer famous for acquittals to defend Nissan ex-chair Ghosn
Junichiro Hironaka, famous for winning the extremely rare innocent verdicts in Japan, has been tapped to defend Nissan's former chairman Carlos Ghosn
5:57AM ( 2 hours ago )
Lawyers leading defense of Nissan ex-chairman Ghosn resign
Lawyers leading defense of Nissan ex-chairman Ghosn quit
4:22AM ( 3 hours ago )
Lawyers leading defense of Nissan ex-chairman Ghosn quits
Lawyers leading defense of Nissan ex-chairman Ghosn quit
3:30AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business
US, Poland launch Mideast conference despite uncertain aims
The United States and Poland are kicking off an international conference on the Middle East amid uncertainty over its aims and questions about what it will deliver
7:52AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Iran's supreme leader says any talks with US can only 'harm'
Iran's supreme leader: Any negotiations with US 'will bring nothing but ... harm' in remarks ahead of US-led summit
7:26AM ( 44 minutes ago )
Michelle Obama's Grammy appearance did not impress mom
It appears Michelle Obama received a reality check from her mom following her appearance at the Grammys
7:26AM ( 45 minutes ago )
Nigeria's top candidates pledge a peaceful election
Nigeria's top candidates pledge a peaceful election amid heated accusations of rigging
7:21AM ( 49 minutes ago )
Gay Muslim comic gone from Instagram after Indonesia warning
An Instagram account that published comic strips depicting the struggles of gay Muslims in Indonesia has disappeared from the site following a frenzy of moral outrage online in the world's biggest Muslim nation
7:21AM ( 50 minutes ago )