July 15. 2024. 8:18

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Spain’s Sánchez rules out snap elections, warns against new ‘ultra’ star Pérez

The Spanish government has no intention of calling snap elections before the 2027 general election, even if Catalan separatists withdraw their support from the executive and the 2025 national budget is not approved, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez (PSOE/S&D) said in an interview on Sunday.

Spain “is experiencing one of its best moments. The Spanish economy is growing at close to 2.5% of GDP and with employment rates that we have not seen in decades”, the Spanish prime minister and Socialist leader told Catalan outlet La Vanguardia.

“I do not envisage calling snap elections. It has been a recurring question since 2018 (when Sánchez came to power), and here we are still,” said Sánchez, Euractiv’s partner EFE reported.

While acknowledging that parliament’s composition is more complex since the snap vote on 23 July 2023, with a strong presence of Catalan and Basque separatist parties, Sánchez expressed his conviction that the progressive coalition of the PSOE with the left-wing Sumar platform (which has 31 seats in the 350-seat parliament) will be strong enough to last the full term.

“The progressive coalition government is the only one capable of managing this complexity (of the parliament) for the benefit of the majority. And that is what we are going to do for the next three years,” Sánchez stressed.

The government’s stability is directly dependent on the support of the two main Catalan separatist parties: the right-wing Together for Catalonia (JxCat), led by former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, and its left-wing rival, the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), each with seven seats in the Spanish parliament.

‘Sword of Damocles’ for separatists

In exchange for the crucial parliamentary support of the Catalan separatist parties, which in theory should span his entire term in office, including when the national budget is approved, Sánchez has had to make generous concessions, such as ensuring the passage of the controversial amnesty law to pardon hundreds of separatist activists responsible for illegal actions between 2011 and 2023, including the secession attempt in Catalonia in 2017.

However, the controversial law, which formally entered into force last week, could face obstacles as some judges ideologically close to the right and far-right have said they would refuse to apply it in certain cases, which could affect Carles Puigdemont, who hopes to soon return to Spain from southern France, where he is currently living in self-imposed exile.

Since PSOE signed political agreements with Puigdemont (and the ERC) in November 2023 to support a Sánchez-led government, the ‘sword of Damocles’ has always hung over the Spanish prime minister.

On several occasions, the former Catalan president has threatened to withdraw his parliamentary support if the amnesty law is ultimately blocked.

(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.Euractiv.es)

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