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

Esquerra MPs in Congress on February 13, 2019 (by Congreso)
Esquerra MPs in Congress on February 13, 2019 (by Congreso) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona / Madrid

February 13, 2019 05:53 PM

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.