Spain’s right, far-right protest against PM Pe­dro over Cat­alo­nia

Millennium Post - - Mp World -

MADRID: Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple wav­ing Span­ish flags joined a rally on Sun­day in Madrid called by right-wing and far-right par­ties against Prime Min­is­ter Pe­dro Sanchez over his ne­go­ti­a­tions with Cata­lan sep­a­ratists.

Un­der the shadow of a huge Span­ish flag that flies above the cen­tral Colon Square, the demon­stra­tors waved their own smaller red and yel­low ver­sions of the same ban­ner and held signs read­ing “Stop Sanchez. Elec­tions now!”.

Mu­nic­i­pal po­lice es­ti­mated some 45,000 peo­ple had taken part in the protest, which comes just two days be­fore the high­pro­file trial of Cata­lan separatist lead­ers opens in Madrid un­der the na­tional and for­eign spot­light.

The rally was called by cen­tre-right Ci­u­dadanos, the con­ser­va­tive Pop­u­lar Party (PP) and far-right Vox, which has only re­cently burst onto Spain’s po­lit­i­cal scene, as well as a hand­ful of smaller far-right groups.

They are an­gered by Sanchez’s de­ci­sion to take a more con­cil­ia­tory tone with proin­de­pen­dence par­ties, whose votes are cru­cial to the leg­isla­tive agenda of his eight-month-old mi­nor­ity govern­ment.

“The govern­ment of San-

chez’s time is up,” PP head Pablo Casado told re­porters be­fore the start of the rally.

Sanchez came to power in June with the sup­port of Cata­lan na­tion­al­ist par­ties, which voted with him in a no con­fi­dence mo­tion against for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy, whose PP was em­broiled in a cor­rup­tion scan­dal.

Polls show that be­tween them the PP, Ci­u­dadanos and Vox would win a ma­jor­ity if a gen­eral elec­tion were held to­day, giv­ing them the com­bined par­lia­men­tary clout to drive Sanchez from of­fice.

The three par­ties won a ma­jor­ity in a re­gional elec­tion in the south­west­ern re­gion of An­dalu­sia in De­cem­ber, oust­ing the So­cial­ists from power in the re­gion af­ter 36 years.

They called the rally af­ter Sanchez’s govern­ment last week ac­cepted the pres­ence -- as asked by Cata­lan sep­a­ratists -- of an in­de­pen­dent “rap­por­teur” in fu­ture talks be­tween Cata­lan par­ties.

The right wing par­ties ac­cused the govern­ment of treach­ery over the move.

De­spite the govern­ment’s con­ces­sion, Cata­lan separatist par­ties still refuse to back the govern­ment’s 2019 bud­get.

If Sanchez is un­able to ap­prove his bud­get, he could call elec­tions be­fore his term is over in 2020.

PTI

Thou­sands of demon­stra­tors hold Span­ish flags dur­ing a protest in Madrid, Spain, on Sun­day

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