MADRID: Political allies of Spain’s minority socialist government have pulled support for its budget hours before a vote in parliament on Friday in a move that casts new doubt over the country’s political stability.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who controls only 84 seats in the 350-seat parliament, cannot pass the budget without those parties which brought him to power in June, when they backed a no-confidence motion against his conservative predecessor.
If Sanchez fails to pass his budget plan for the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy, the future of his fragile, two-month-old administration could come into question.
Two Catalan regional parties, the Catalan Democratic Party (PdeCat) and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), as well as leftist Podemos have decided to abstain in the parliamentary vote to agree on a new deficit-cutting path, spokespeople for those parties told Reuters.
The government met with several of the seven parties that backs it in parliament for several hours on Thursday at the prime minister’s office but the positions were too far away for a deal to be reached, sources briefed on the talks said.
One disagreement related to the socialists’ resistance to opening an inquiry into media reports of offshore business dealings by the former King Juan Carlos, four sources said.
The king’s office declined to comment on the reports to Reuters, which could not independently verify them.
One of the sources said Podemos also pushed for softer deficit targets and higher spending in the budget, which the government opposed.
Sanchez had acknowledged late on Thursday he could lose the vote, though he would stick to his position of not bringing forward the next national election due mid-2020.
“Those of the groups that vote against the deficit path will be voting against repairing the welfare state, improving public health and making progress in education,” Sanchez told a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron.
“I call on all of them to act in a responsible way,” he said.