May 25, 2024

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The regional president of Catalonia has called an early election for May 12 after his minority government failed to pass a budget for Spain’s wealthy northeast region that includes Barcelona.

The move by Pere Aragonès on Wednesday came on the eve of a vote in Spain’s national parliament on a contentious amnesty law that could pardon hundreds of leaders and supporters of the separatist movement, including those involved in Catalonia’s unsuccessful bid to declare independence from Spain in 2017.

Some separatists leaders were jailed at the time, and others like ex-regional President Carles Puigdemont fled the country.

The amnesty proposal has aroused the ire of millions of Spaniards. Those who oppose the bill believe that the people involved in provoking one of the country’s biggest crises since the transition to democracy after the death of Gen. Francisco Franco in 1975 shouldn’t get away with charges including sedition and rebellion.

But Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s government in Madrid relies on Catalan separatist parties to approve laws in Spain’s parliament. The central government is also trying to win the backing of those parties to pass a national budget.

Sanchez’s Socialist party and his allies are expected to give their initial backing to the amnesty law in a parliamentary vote on Thursday, while the conservative Popular Party and hard-right politicians will oppose it.

The Catalan regional election had to be held before the end of the year. Catalonia has been governed by separatist parties for more than a decade, but Sánchez’s Socialists have polled strong in the region recently.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *