Nationalists Reclaim Catalan Government

European Politics, Government, Nationalism, Rundown

The fallout from the ousting of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy continues and its immediate beneficiary is the nationalists in Catalonia who reclaimed control of the government. The nationalists wasted no time in laying down the road to seek independence from Spain and its new leader, Pedro Sanchez.

The Spanish parliament removed Mariano Rajoy from his position after members of his party were found guilty of Spain’s highest court for their involvement in a corruption scandal. Once Rajoy was out of office, it effectively ended Madrid’s direct rule over the affluent region of Catalonia.

After imposing direct rule over Catalonia, Rajoy set up snap elections which backfired when voters supported the separatist movement. Over the next few months, Madrid jailed candidates for advocating Catalan independence including its former leader, Carles Puigdemont.

Sanchez has expressed his interest in holding a dialogue with the nationalists. However he also said his government would not support any referendum for Catalonia to gain independence. Sanchez who is a socialist initiated the move that ousted Rajoy. However, he had supported Rajoy’s policy versus Catalan independence.

Catalonia’s newly sworn- in leader Quim Torra prodded Sanchez to a dialogue to discuss their future:

“This government is committed to moving towards an independent state in the form of a republic. Let’s talk, let’s deal with this question. Let’s take risks. You and us. We need to sit around the same table and negotiate, government to government.”

Sanchez rode into the seat of power after he secured the support of the Socialists, leftists, and the nationalists from Catalan and Basque to remove Rajoy as Prime Minister.

It was the slimmest of victories in the history of Spanish democracy. His Socialist party only holds 84 seats from the 350-member Assembly. This may hinder Sanchez’s plans for an aggressive move both politically and economically and may affect negotiations with Catalonia.

Sanchez already announced he would abide with the budget established by Rajoy’s conservative group for 2018.