Parties resigned to snap election after failure to pass Spanish budget
Pro-independence camp refuses to accept blame for not backing Sánchez government's spending plan while unionist welcome new vote
After the budget proposed by the Spanish government failed to pass in the Congress on Wednesday, and with a snap general election now almost certain, the reactions from parties across the political spectrum came thick and fast.
Catalan government: Independence parties "not to be blamed"
In Catalonia, the government spokeswoman, Elsa Artadi, said that the lack of progress in the talks on the Catalan political situation with the Sánchez executive suggested that the Socialists had "no interest" in passing the spending plan.
Meanwhile, the minister for external relations, Alfred Bosch, said the pro-independence parties "are not to be blamed for what happens in Spain," after they decided not to back the budget, and he accepted that "there could well now be an election."
The Catalan pro-independence parties were only willing to vote for the budget if the Spanish government made concessions on self-determination or the independence leaders now on trial in Spain's Supreme Court, both of which were ruled out by Madrid.
Socialists had "little interest" in passing budget, says PDeCAT
The spokesman for the PDeCAT pro-independence party in Congress, Carles Campuzano, agreed with Artadi that the Sánchez government had "very little interest" in seeing the budget pass, so as to win votes by blaming the situation on the pro-independence parties.
ERC: Socialists "fearing" opposition
As for the ERC party, its spokesman in Congress, Joan Tardà, accused the Socialists of "fearing" the opposition, with the pro-independence parties getting "nothing in exchange" for their support of Sánchez in ousting the former conservative PP party from power.
Left-wing parties predict setback in Catalan conflict
Yet, Miquel Iceta, the leader of the Catalan wing of the Socialist party, called the decision to reject the budget a "mistake," and said the alternative to the Sánchez government continuing in power would be a "rise in tensions in Catalonia" under a right-wing government.
"Today we took a step backwards when the budget was not approved"
Jéssica Albiach · Catalunya en Comú's leader
The left-wing En Comú Podem party agreed, with its parliamentary head, Jéssica Albiach, calling the rejection of the budget "a step backwards" that would "overturn the possibility of dialogue" between Madrid and the Catalan government.
Conservatives welcome election
Spain's right-wing parties welcomed the possibility of an election, with the head of the PP party, Pablo Casado, predicting that the failure of the budget would mean "the end of Pedro Sánchez" and he pledged no more agreements "with populists or separatists."
As for the unionist Ciudadanos party, its leader, Albert Rivera, urged Sánchez to call an election "as soon as possible," as, in his opinion, Spain needs a government that can "unite" Spaniards and overcome "the separatist coup d'etat."