Failure to pass budget in Spanish Congress raises chance of snap election
Pro-independence parties refuse to back the spending plan after Madrid takes no steps towards Catalonia's self-determination
The Spanish government's proposed budget for 2019 failed to pass on Wednesday in Congress, after the Catalan pro-independence parties refused to back the spending plan.
The failure to pass the budget now raises the likelihood of Spanish president Pedro Sánchez being forced to call a snap general election.
The pro-independence ERC and PDeCAT parties, whose votes helped oust the previous conservative PP government to put the Socialists in power, rejected the bill after Sánchez failed to make concessions on self-determination or the independence leaders now on trial in Spain's Supreme Court.
The Socialist party spokeswoman in Congress, Adriana Lastra, accused ERC and PDeCAT of "vetoing" the budget with demands she said were "inadmissible," as they are not allowed by the Spanish Constitution, while the government could not "interfere" in the trial.
Lastra also accused the pro-independence parties of "dynamiting" the efforts at dialogue between Spain and Catalonia, and blamed the lack of progress on the "intransigence" of ERC and PDeCAT.
In the run-up to the budget vote, the Socialists had insisted that the spending plan would benefit Catalonia, and the spokeswoman cast doubt on the reach of the pro-independence parties, asking: "Are they sure they represent the whole of Catalonia."
Lastra also had harsh words for the right-wing opposition parties, PP and Cs, which she accused of "irresponsible opposition." "The interest of the country does not matter to them at all," she said.