Pro-independence party to reject Spanish government budget
Future of president Pedro Sánchez uncertain after ERC confirms it will vote against expenditure plan
The future of the Spanish government is uncertain after the Catalan pro-independence ERC party ruled out on Monday any possibility of backing Madrid’s general budget for 2019.
Without support from the parties in favor of a Catalan state, the Socialist party will fall short of the majority needed to pass the expenditure plan in the Spanish Congress.
ERC’s decision to reject the budget deals a major blow to president Pedro Sánchez, who came to power last Spring with the support of Catalan and Basque parties, following a no-confidence vote against the conservative Mariano Rajoy.
For months, the central government unsuccessfully tried to secure the votes from Catalan parties, which in turn demanded “gestures” towards their self-determination aspirations and their leaders incarcerated for calling an independence referendum in 2017.
With the trial against jailed independence leaders due to start next week, tensions between governments in Madrid and Catalonia are set to run high again after a modest improvement in recent months.
The first crucial vote on the Spanish budget will occur on February 12-13, when the Congress in Madrid will decide whether it accepts it for consideration.
The other pro-independence party, PDeCAT, insisted on Monday that it will also reject the spending plan if the Spanish government does not accept launching a "negotiating table" over the national issue.
Meanwhile the Catalan Socialists said it is "against Catalonia" to reject the budget and highlighted that the pro-independence parties will end up voting the same as the unionist People's Party and Ciutadans.