EARLY ELECTIONS LOOM FOR SPAIN AFTER BUDGET DEFEAT




Robert Harneis -TDO- The minority Socialist Spanish government has failed to get its budget through parliament and now faces having to call anticipated elections. The budget was voted down by the center right opposition in an alliance of convenience with the Catalan independentists.

The 26th May, date of European, Municipal and Regional elections, or the28th April are the two dates that have been talked of. Sanchez has only been in power for eight months and these will be the third elections to be held in Spain in less than three years.

Prime Minister Sanchez has only 84 supporters in the Spanish parliament out of 350. He had originally said he would call early elections and then decided to attempt to pass his budget, hoping to hold on until the end of the parliament in 2020.The budget was defeated when it was amended by a majority on 191 in what was a de facto vote of no confidence.

The defeat comes as the trial of twelve Catalan politicians involved in an attempted secession in 2017 opens in Madrid. Sanchez has failed to have meaningful talks with the Catalan independantists and has paid the price.The independantists are insisting on a referendum on Catalan independence which the Spanish government has refused to grant.

Opinion polls indicate that a coalition of the center right Popular Party, Cuidadanos and the radical right Vox, is likely to be possible. Vox is opposed to any idea of a United States of Europe.

Whilst the new coalition, if elected, will not be overtly hostile to the EU, the latest crisis in Madrid will come as yet another problem for the Union. Spain remains extremely vulnerable to any new economic crisis to hit Europe.