President Pedro Sánchez is considering calling a general election on April 14 as he has been unable to secure sufficient backing for his 2019 budget.
In trying to please the Catalunya regional parties – whose support he needs, due to his party’s only holding around a quarter of the seats in Parliament – Sánchez has angered those who are staunchly against the north-eastern territory’s independence drive.
A huge demonstration held in Madrid yesterday (Sunday), convened by the right-wing PP and centre-right Ciudadanos, called for early general elections, considering Sánchez and his cabinet to be ‘unelected’ due to their having gained power through a no-confidence vote against the PP last June.
If Sánchez does decide to proceed in calling the nation to the polls, he will have to dissolve Parliament in a week’s time – on Tuesday, February 19 – since this has to take place 54 days before the elections.
The date of the possible election is the 88th anniversary of the proclamation of Spain’s Second Republic, which was five years before the start of the Civil War, and will fall on Palm Sunday.
Marta Vilalta, spokeswoman for the Catalunya Left Republicans (ERC), warns that if Sánchez’s idea of an election on April 14 is a ‘form of pressure’, the party will not withdraw its demands for a complete overhaul of the 2019 budget ‘unless dialogue is re-established’ and ‘the repression of the independence movement ceases’.
Sra Vilalta has called upon Sánchez to ‘be brave’ and ‘recommence the pathway to dialogue, without conditions’.
Sánchez came under fire recently from the opposition and the public after considering appointing an independent intermediary to try to reach a solution to the Catalunya independence impasse – a figure normally used in times of serious conflict.
Those doggedly against any mention of Catalunya’s secession – claiming the Spanish Constitution does not allow for its even to be discussed – went into an uproar at the idea of an arbitrator.
Dissenters include the PP, Ciudadanos and far-right supporters.
Catalunya’s independence brigade does not agree, either – instead of a middleman being brought in, they simply want a legal vote on secession.
Sánchez’s left-wing socialist party does not agree with Catalunya becoming an independent State, but since coming into power in June, it has been more flexible and more willing to open talks with the pro-secessionists.
The right-wing protest organisers say appointing a rapporteur is equivalent to backing the secession movement.
General elections are not due until November 2020, but Sánchez has been under pressure to call an early vote since the day he got into power.
Published thinkspain 11 February 2019