Budget and General Election
Spain’s Socialist government is widely expected to call a snap general election after failing to get its budget through parliament.
Catalan separatists rejected Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s bill after the government refused to discuss the region’s right to self-determination.
They voted with the conservatives, despite their different agendas.
Mr Sánchez, in power since June, will announce a date for the vote after a cabinet meeting tomorrow.
The government’s budget was rejected by 191 members out of the 350-seat parliament, with votes from the People’s Party and Ciudadanos as well as Catalan separatists.
Mr Sánchez leads a minority government, with just 84 seats in parliament. He is supported by a confidence-and-supply agreement and the support of a handful of smaller parties with competing interests.
The PP is the largest party with 134 seats.
Mr Sánchez became prime minister after his predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, was pushed out in a no-confidence vote over a corruption scandal.
A new general election will be the third in five years.
Catalan Separatist Trial
A public prosecutor yesterday accused Catalan separatist leaders of trying to use “human shields” to block police during their failed secession bid in 2017.
On the second day of the separatist leaders’ trial, Supreme Court prosecutor Fidel Cadena also rejected arguments by defence lawyers who said the trial was politically motivated.
Twelve Catalan separatist politicians and activists face years behind bars if they are convicted of rebellion or other charges for pushing an independence referendum in October 2017, in defiance of a court ban, and a brief declaration of independence.
Another public prosecutor accused the defence of wanting to “create a deformed version of reality to discredit Spanish justice.”
The trial will resume today when the main protagonist, former Catalan regional vice president Oriol Junqueras, is set to take the stand. He faces up to 25 years in jail.
Police believe the fire at Playa Padre beach club was most likely another settling of accounts.
Investigators have found evidence that the flames began in at least eight different areas of the club, indicating that it was set deliberately.
The flames began at around 7pm on Monday and raged for an hour and half before being put out by several fire engines.
A security guard is believed to have been on duty but left the scene unharmed when the flames erupted.
The club, which employs around 60 people, was due to open in time for Easter.
Forensic teams are continuing to analyse the charred remains of the chiringuito to reveal more clues about who could be behind the suspected arson attack.