Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez set to announce snap election after parties unite against budget

SPAIN’S Prime Minister is due to announce the date of a snap general election on Friday after the government’s budget was voted down in Congress, according to official sources.

Pedro Sanchez’s announcement comes after pro-Catalan independence parties sided with the conservative Partido Popular (PP) and the centrist Ciudadanos in voting against the budget today (Wednesday).

Albert Rivera, leader of Ciudadanos, said Spain had won today and Sanchez had lost.

“Mr Sanchez- put out the ballot boxes and let the Spanish people decide their future by voting. We need to start a new chapter to overcome 40 years of bipartisanship and nationalism,” Rivera said on Twitter.

PSOE said it would now be time for those who voted against the budget to explain themselves to voters.

Maria Luz Martinez Seijo, a PSOE member of the Congress of Deputies for Palencia and a party education spokesperson, said the defeat was a “sad spectacle”.

Those parties, along with regional groups from Asturias and the Canary Islands, voted to approve amendments. They won that vote by 191 in favour to 158 against.

The vote was not on the budget itself. But it shows the government’s hope of drawing on the loose coalition of parties that helped to oust former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have been dashed, making passing it impossible.

Two dates in April and May’s local, regional and European election day on May 26 have all been recently floated as possible election dates. Sanchez’s announcement, expected on Friday, could happen sooner according to reports in Spanish media.

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Joe Gerrard

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