Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez struggles to get support to extend lockdown for fourth time on Wednesday

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Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has been struggling to get the support he needs to extend the country’s lockdown in Congress this Wednesday.

SEVERAL of the country’s regional presidents have raised their objections to extending the country’s State of Alarm set to end on May 9, despite the government’s latest injection of around €16 billion in funds to boost the regional economies amid the pandemic.

Sánchez, who heads the minority coalition government with Unidas Podemos, desperately needs the support of other parties to secure the required votes in parliament on Wednesday to extend the State of Alarm for another two weeks. However, many of the opposition parties and regional presidents, particularly the PP and far-right party Vox (as reported), have made it clear they don’t support it and are set to withhold their support for another lockdown extension.

The opposition parties and regional presidents cite various reasons for withholding their support. This includes the government’s lack of communication, transparency and decision-making around de-escalation plans, as well as overall disagreement on the actual de-escalation process. Most aren’t convinced that “de-escalation by province” is the best way forward to relax the lockdown restrictions, while others disagree on the markers put in place to assess whether each province is ready for the next phase of de-escalation (Phases 0-3).

For example, Aragón’s President Javier Lambán of the PSOE party, stated that the deescalation by province “is not suitable” especially in regions like Aragon, where more than 50 per cent of the population resides in Zaragoza. He also believes the best unit for de-escalation measures should be basic healthcare markers. Madrid’s Regional President Isabel Diaz Ayuso of the PP party, added that the State of Alarm was “limiting the fundamental rights” of citizens, when the crisis that the country is going through is, in fact, “a health issue.”

Catalonia’s President and hardline Catalan separatist, Quim Torra, warned that the Together for Catalonia party would once again vote against an extension, adding that he doesn’t believe that “co-governance is the best way forward.” The Basque Country’s President Iñigo Urkullu, also called for an end to the State of Alarm, as he believes that “there are other better instruments at the government’s disposal to deal with the crisis.”

However, according to Sánchez, extending the State of Alarm, is “the only instrument” that allows the state to act “immediately,” while reassuring the regional presidents that his government would negotiate de-escalation with each region. However, given the latest round of protests, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that the Prime Minister will get the majority of votes he needs to extend the State of Alarm for a fourth time on Wednesday.


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Pepi Sappal

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