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Spain Might be set for Early Election as Nationalist Right Gains Momentum

Spain’s Socialist Premier Pedro Sanchez has struggled to get support for his 2019 budget as dialogue with Catalan nationalist parties who support his government has collapsed.

According to Spanish government sources, Spain may likely be set to go to snap elections as the Pedro Sanchez led minority leftwing government faces an uphill battle in trying to get support for its 2019 budget as his Socialist Party has to secure the support from the far left, as well as center-right Basque and Catalan separatists as well as left-wing  Basque, Catalan, and Valencian separatists. So far the Catalan right-wing PDECAT party has said they will oppose Sanchez’s budget which leaves the government if it sees no more defections 171 out of 350 seats in the lower house of parliament, and it is very likely the Catalan leftist ERC will also vote against it.

However conflicting reports have also said that Pedro Sanchez has ruled out elections in April, but the ruling PSOE Secretary General Adriana Lastra has said that if the budget talks fail then there will be early elections.

The increasing talks of early elections come as Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo had accused Catalan separatists who support the minority government of refusing dialogue in budget talks as the government had refused to call for a referendum when almost 53% of Catalan voters in 2017 voted against separatist parties.

The separatist leaders face up to 25 years in prison on charges of rebellion, and misuse of public funds if they are found guilty. The previous separatist government in Barcelona held a banned referendum where only 43% turned out to vote, and there was no voter ID required, they unilaterally declared independence after, and the government was terminated. Catalan voters elected a new parliament and just less than 53% of voters on record turnout rejected separatist parties.

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Right-wing and nationalistic protesters in Madrid rallied in massive numbers against Pedro Sanchez’s unpopular proposal for dialogue with the Catalan separatists.

Pedro Sanchez appointed a negotiator to the question of the 47% in Catalonia, and it sparked massive outrage across Spain, and the galvanized the opposition as the Conservative Partido Popular (PP), the economically liberal Ciudadanos Party (C’s) and the right-wing nationalist Vox Party (Vox) supporters poured out into the streets of Madrid to decry the actions of the appointed Prime Minister.

The government faces the budget vote on Wednesday which is very likely to be defeated as separatists have indicated they will vote against the deal. After the budget is defeated, an early election would happen in Spain. Pedro Sanchez, however, does have one more card he can play in these talks, as polling indicates the Conservative Partido Popular (PP), the economically liberal Ciudadanos (C’s) and right-wing nationalist Vox Party (Vox) would have enough seats to govern together, and they take a much more hardline approach and Sanchez can say it’s your call PDECAT and ERC is it us or early elections which may mean you have to deal with them.

Pedro Sanchez came to power in June 2018 elected by parliament after the Partido Popular led government of former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was thrown out in a corruption scandal. His party secured 84 seats of 350 possible in 2016.

Catalan separatism, the economy, and immigration will be the issues which dominate in the campaign as Spaniards are increasingly discontent over the socialist government’s handling of the economy, immigration, and Catalonia.

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Stories such as the 18-year-old girl in the central Catalan town of Sabadell who was viciously raped by 6 Moroccan migrants have become very common in Spain since Pedro Sanchez opened Spain’s borders up to uncontrolled mass immigration from the 3rd world. These stories have enraged the Spanish public who feel that their generosity and openness have been taken advantage of.

In Andalusia a stronghold for the socialists, they were thrown out after the right-wing nationalist Vox Party was able to become kingmaker taking 11% and they supported the formation of a PP led coalition government with the Ciudadanos Party.

At the national level polling has been indicating a similar type scenario as neither the socialists and their allies or the PP and Ciudadanos can reach a majority on their own. Vox would then become kingmaker, and this scenario would be very unwelcome for the EU.

Vox is a party that is wholly opposed to the EU in its current form. The party is very hostile to mass immigration; they want to institute very tough border controls. Radical mosques and imams have no place in Spanish society the party makes very clear. Turkey’s potential membership in the EU is very very controversial across Europe, and the Vox Party is unequivocally opposed to allowing Turkey in. Vox seeks to take more concrete actions in tackling the issue of corruption in Spain including with much harsher sentences and eliminating government posts which aren’t productive and are rampant with severe corruption. The fact NGO’s have been bringing migrants to shore across the dangerous Meditteranean has been met with outrage across Southern Europe, and Vox vows it will take a hardline stand on the issue.

No matter when elections are held Spain no longer has been immune from the rise of nationalistic parties.

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About Andrew Aleksi-Lankinen

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