Agreement on observer for Catalonia-Spain talks angers opposition
Ciutadans and People's Party call demonstration in Madrid to reject deal
Catalan and Spanish governments' agreement on having an observer present in the talks between parties over the independence crisis has been heavily criticized by some opposition parties, who have targeted the Spanish executive in particular.
Catalonia's main unionist party, Ciutadans (Cs), the largest party in Spain, People's Party (PP), and far-right Vox called a rally to reject the deal, to be held in Madrid on Sunday.
In an attempt to cool off tensions, Spanish vice president Carmen Calvo called an emergency press conference on Wednesday to stress that the observer would not attend meetings between governments, but only those between Catalan parties.
Cs called the move a "humiliation" and a "disgrace" for Spain.
"We don't accept that those who have carried out a coup should set conditions on those who respect the rule of law," said the party head, Albert Rivera.
His party asked on Wednesday for Spain's president to appear before Congress to give an explanation, because he has "sold the national sovereignty."
For Ciutadans' leader in Catalonia, Inés Arrimadas, Madrid accepting an observer shows the "desperation" of president Pedro Sánchez to remain in power.
Observer proposal by Catalan government
On Tuesday, the Catalan executive proposed naming a "neutral" person to oversee the talks in exchange for considering support of Spain's 2019 budget.
The votes of the ruling pro-independence parties are necessary for the spending plan to pass in Madrid.
"Passing a budget does not justify concessions that cast doubt on the Spanish constitution"
Javier Lambán · Socialist Aragon president
Yet on Tuesday evening, they said more steps are needed in order for them to back the budget.
People's Party: "most serious felony" since failed 1981 coup
For the People's Party leader, Pablo Casado, Spain's president Pedro Sánchez is committing "high treason" by accepting an observer.
"His surrender to the independence movement is the most serious felony since the February 23, 1981 [attempted coup d'état]," he said.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Casado did not rule out putting forward a motion of no confidence against the Socialists.
Even some regional Socialist party leaders criticized Sánchez for accepting an observer.
"Passing a budget does not justify concessions that cast doubt on the Spanish constitution and unity, the rule of law and decency," said Aragon region's president.
Podemos greenlights observer
However, the left-wing Podemos party greenlighted an observer as a tool to "build bridges and facilitate dialogue."
"I do not think that an observer or a mediator at a negotiating table will put democracy at risk," said Podemos spokesperson in Congress, Irene Montero.
The Spanish vice president