Spain’s conservatives to protest after historic leftist coalition unveiled

Right-wing conservatives will take to the streets of Madrid today to commemorate Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and protest the separatist

spain government catalonia

Photo: Victor J Blanco/GTRES

Right-wing conservatives will take to the streets of Madrid today to commemorate Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and protest the separatist movement in Catalonia.

Today’s demonstrations come a week after Socialist Party leader and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a minority governing coalition with the leftist Unidas Podemos party.

It remains unclear what strategy the new coalition government will adopt to appease the Catalonians. Given its minority status, the government must maintain some support from one of the opposition parties if it is to govern effectively.

Indeed, the ruling coalition itself is split on the Catalonia question. The leader of Unidas Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, has called for another independence referendum in Catalonia, which Sanchez does not support. On the one hand, a referendum would garner support from the pro-independence Esquerra Republicana party, which currently holds 13 of the 350 seats in the Spanish legislature’s lower house. On the other hand, an independence vote would deter support from the centre-right Partido Popular, which holds 89 legislative seats and is key for Sanchez to maintain his precarious government.

Given pressure from the centre-right, which has accused Sanchez of being pro-independence, and from the far-left, which is lobbying for another referendum, it is unlikely that Sanchez will reach a common ground on the independence question in the short-term.

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