The People’s Party eases the way in parliament for the Catalan budget
The Catalan People’s Party (PPC) abstained and facilitated the rejection of the motions to substitute the budget bill presented by the Catalan Government, run by the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition CiU. The motions had been presented by four parliamentary groups for a range of reasons, but mainly because the Government’s budget proposal was cutting too much social spending while it did not make enough efforts to raise revenues.
Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan Parliament had a key vote on Wednesday on the Catalan Government\u2019s budget for 2011, which is being debated now because the Catalan elections took place last autumn. The Catalan Government, which is run by the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition \u2018Convergència i Unió\u2019 (CiU), presented a budget proposal which cuts public spending by 10%. All the opposition parties but the Catalan People\u2019s Party (PPC) presented a motion to substitute the budget bill. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) \u2013which is the main opposition party-, the Catalan Green Socialist Party (ICV-EUiA), the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), the Anti Catalan Nationalism Party (C\u2019s) and the Radical Catalan Independence Party (SI), presented motions to substitute the budget bill. PSC, ICV-EUiA, C\u2019s and ERC oppose CiU\u2019s proposal because it cuts social spending while it reduces the Inheritance Tax and does not make enough efforts to get new revenue. SI proposed a completely different budget as if Catalonia were an independent state. Today, all those motions were debated and voted. The PPC's abstention facilitated CiU\u2019s simple majority to reject the opposition\u2019s motions. Therefore, the Government\u2019s budget proposal can continue its parliamentary path. In the weeks to come, CiU will carry on negotiations to gather enough support to pass the budget proposal. The People\u2019s Party has already announced it will negotiate with the Government and ultimately back the budget if they can reach some specific agreements. The definitive budget bill should be voted and approved on July 20th and 21st.
The People\u2019s Party seems CiU\u2019s only likely support for the 2011 Catalan Government\u2019s budget at this stage. CiU is lacking 6 seats to reach the absolute majority. It therefore needs the support from at least another parliamentary group to pass laws, such as the budget bill. After the municipal elections, CiU and PP are closer. They reached an agreement in Barcelona\u2019s Provincial Council and CiU facilitated PP\u2019s candidate Xavier Garcia Albiol to become Badalona\u2019s mayor, Catalonia\u2019s third most populated city.
None of the other potential allies, the PSC and ERC, seem keen to back the Catalan Government. The PSC and ERC were part of the previous Government. In addition, the PSC is the main opposition party. CiU is asking for PSC support, but the Socialists accuse CiU of wanting a blank cheque. CiU says the PSC wants to sit on the negotiation table with a bunch of pre-conditions. Everybody is already assuming that no \u201CCatalan Big Coalition\u201D will happen. ERC is more likely than the PSC\u2019s but considering ERC\u2019s internal situation and the Catalan Government will reduce the Inheritance Tax, and make the PPC a more likely ally.