Political allies of Spain's new center-left government pulled their support for its spending proposals hours before a key budget vote in parliament on Friday. The minority government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez relies on support from the left-wing, anti-establishment Podemos party as well as several Catalan regional parties to get anything done. Without their backing, Sanchez cannot pass his budget, putting the stability of his fragile government into doubt.
The Catalan separatist parties — Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) and the Catalan Democratic Party (PdeCat) — as well as Podemos, said they were abstaining on the key parliamentary vote to pass the budget proposals for 2019.
Sanchez aims to raise the public spending ceiling, easing the fiscal purse strings after years of deficit-cutting that won Rajoy credit for a turnaround in Spain's economy.
The socialist leader was sworn in as PM at the beginning June after his predecessor, the conservative Mariano Rajoy, was ousted in a historic no-confidence vote over a corruption scandal. Sanchez's government has only 84 seats in Spain's 350-member parliament.
kw/rc (AP, Reuters)