Spanish government considering one-month extension to state of alarm
Pedro Sánchez looking for support after only managing to pass latest prolongation at the eleventh hour
The Spanish government is considering putting forward a one-month extension to the state of alarm, which expires at midnight on May 23.
Vice President Carmen Calvo has been in touch with several parties in the past few days in order to look for support for a fifth extension of the exceptional measure, which would have to be passed in a week.
Some sources close to the talks say that Madrid is proposing a one-month extension, double the time of each of the previous four extensions.
If the measure succeeded, Spain would be under a state of alarm until late June, when de-escalation could be very close to coming to an end.
Yet, Spain's president, Pedro Sánchez, had a hard time persuading the chamber to agree to a fourth prolongation, and only managed to do it at the eleventh hour after a deal with the Basque Nationalist Party and unionist Ciudadanos – on the other hand, all three Catalan pro-independence parties voted against it, and the People's Party abstained for the first time.
The same sources say that Madrid would be now be open to significant changes in the state of alarm decree, and add that they have asked the parties – including the Catalan pro-independence ones – to submit proposals.
Both governing parties in Catalonia, Junts per Catalunya and ERC, have repeatedly requested that key services related to the health crisis are devolved to the Catalan authorities again – these powers were taken back by Spain on March 14 with the first application of the state of alarm.
Sánchez will ask the chamber for a fifth prolongation next Wednesday, May 20 from 9am.