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News > Spain

Sanchez's Budget Fails, Spain Snap Election Looms

  • Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez reacts during a session at Parliament in Madrid, Spain, Feb. 13, 2019

    Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez reacts during a session at Parliament in Madrid, Spain, Feb. 13, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 February 2019

April snap elections in Spain are likely to take place with no party, neither progressive or left, taking a majority victory. 

Spain's parliament rejected a draft 2019 budget on Wednesday pushing the government closer to snap parliamentary elections.

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Members of the Socialist party over which Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez presides told Reuters the party was planning to call snap elections, likely in April if the budget was rejected.

A spokesperson for Sanchez said he’d make the announcement after a weekly cabinet meeting on Friday.

Legislators from opposition parties have gained political ground over the past months in Spain, particularly after far-right Vox won 12 Andalusian parliamentary seats during its December 2018 elections, are trying to force immediate elections.

On Wednesday leader of the center-right Ciudadanos party, Albert Rivera yelled to the prime minister while in session: "Mr Sanchez, that's enough, it's over ... call elections now!"

Elections were not supposed to happen until 2020.

Spain has supposedly emerged from its 2008 crash but continues to suffer from an unemployment rate of 17.2 percent, according to The Heritage Foundation. Political volatility has been hovering over the country for the past year and a half.

Catalonia has been attempting to gain independence since October 2017 spurring divisions between pro-independence and unity factions. Former conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was voted out on a no-confidence vote last June while he and his People's Party (PP) were mired in corruption scandals.

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Head of the (PP), Pablo Casado, said Wednesday’s budget vote, 191 against and 158 in favor with one abstention, was a precursor confidence vote against Sanchez. "Today, it is clear that we've come to the end of the road, that this agony can't go on any longer and that Spain needs a better government and it deserves it as soon as possible," he told reporters.

According to sources for Reuters, Sanchez wanted to hold elections as soon as possible to gather support from left-leaning voters after protests against him continue to take place in Madrid over his “conciliatory” tone toward Catalan independence advocates who are currently on trial in the capital. The demonstrations were organized by nationalist, pro-union Vox with the support of Popular Party (PP) and Ciudadanos who are also against Catalan's ceding from Spain.

A Jan. 31 released poll by the 2019 Index of Economic Freedom showed that the Socialists would win an election with 29.9 percent of the vote and Vox would take 6.5 percent, up from 3.7 percent from December 2018. Vox was the first far-right party to have an electoral victory since Spain returned to democracy in the mid-1970s. 

The CIS poll said Ciudadanos would come in second with 17.7 percent of the vote followed by left-leaning Podemos, which would win 15.4 percent. The PP was down from previous polls projected to win 14.9 percent of the vote.

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