Unionist leader offers Sánchez support to reimpose direct rule on Catalonia

Acting Spanish president meets Cs party head as government expresses "concern" over deal against Catalan interests

Pedro Sánchez is seeking to form a workable government without a parliamentary majority
Pedro Sánchez is seeking to form a workable government without a parliamentary majority / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 7, 2019 06:26 PM

Catalonia continues to be a key issue as Spain's acting president, Pedro Sánchez, has begun talking to other political parties in search of potential alliances that will allow his Socialist Party (PSOE) to form a majority government.

On Tuesday, the leader of Ciudadanos (Cs), Albert Rivera, offered Sánchez his party's full support in both houses of the Spanish parliament for reimposing direct rule on Catalonia by reactivating article 155 of the Constitution.

Catalonia's self-rule was suspended in 2017 under Mariano Rajoy's leadership following the independence bid, and Cs' opposition to the pro-independence Catalan government has led it to repeatedly call for direct rule to be restored.

Sánchez's meeting with Rivera followed a similar meeting on Monday with Pablo Casado, leader of the People's Party (PP), who said that the possibility of the Socialists allying with "regionalist parties" such as Catalan pro-independence groups would not be "optimal."

Catalan government urges "reducing tensions"

Meanwhile, the Catalan government warned on Tuesday that it is "concerned" that Sánchez and Casado have reached an agreement on Catalonia that would prove to be detrimental to the interests of Catalans.

"We are concerned about the direction of Sánchez's first moves. PP and PSOE have reached agreement on the issue of Catalonia and that is surely not a good thing for Catalonia," said government spokeswoman, Meritxell Budó.

The spokeswoman warned Sánchez that he does not have the powers "to decide how and when to govern Catalonia," and she urged the president-elect to focus on "reducing tensions and opening channels of dialogue."