Protest in Barcelona on Tuesday against the trial. Image: ANC
Because he broke off a dialogue that had begun tentatively, Catalan parties voted against his budget. Now new elections are on the horizon
Now the question is no longer whether there will be early elections in Spain, but only when. After the rejection of the budget of the Socialist Pedro Sanchez by 191 votes to 158 in Parliament on Wednesday, Sanchez will announce the date for early elections on Friday after the weekly cabinet meeting.
Three dates have already been traded in recent days in light of the expected outcome, with 28. April has emerged. Previously, the government had already set 14. Had been envisaged by the government. The date seems to many in Sanchez Social Democrats (PSOE) but overthrown. Also the 26. May has already been called "Super election Sunday" brought into play by the government. Local elections and European Parliament elections are held then anyway. But in some regions, regional parliaments will also be elected. Therefore, PSOE party furries fear a chaos that could disadvantage them and reject it. In some polling stations there could be up to seven different ballot boxes.
However, the May date is demanded by the right-wing People’s Party (PP). The party, which has established an "efficient system of institutional corruption" and therefore condemned, was overthrown by a motion of censure last June. Of all parties, the one that has thrown money out of the window with both hands for nonsensical … Railways, is now arguing for unnecessary costs in the amount of 200 million euros.
The new PP leader Pablo Casado is already rubbing his hands together in view of Sanchez’s quick failure. He hopes to extend the Andalusia model to Spain, so that the PP will return to power and he will become head of government. After four decades of PSOE government, the PP is governing in the Spanish south for the first time as a coalition with the nationalist Ciudadanos (Burger. These had also demonstrated together on Saturday against the dialogue of Sanchez with the Catalans and demanded new elections. The protest turned out to be a flop with 45.000 participants, as the organizers had expected many more.
Dispute between PSOE and Podemos
The fact that Sanchez could try to muddle through with a demanded budget of the conservative processors is definitely rejected by his left-wing partner Unidos-Podemos (Together we can do it). The party was still divided behind him until today. It voted for the budget, but not united. The party’s acting leader, Irene Montero, now declares that Sanchez has "no other option", than to dissolve parliament. "The limits of an all-PSOE government have become obvious", said the friend of party leader Pablo Iglesias, who is on parental leave.
Even if Montero is talking about the "most social budget" in history, she hasn’t even gotten her own people fully behind her. The sector "En Marea" from Galicia was also in favor of a no vote. With the exception of Alexandra Fernandez, however, it then adhered to party discipline. But the Catalan Marta Sibina also said no, because the rescue ships Open Arms and Aita Mari have been blocked by the Sanchez government for weeks and were not allowed to sail to the Mediterranean for sea rescues.
Contradictions between PSOE and Podemos have recently become more and more severe. The Catalans have already shown Sanchez the yellow card recently. The conversion of a decree on the rent issue was rejected because the promised rent control was not implemented in the face of skyrocketing rents.
Fall over the Catalonia issue
Sanchez was blamed for breaking off the tentative dialogue with the Catalan government in the face of pressure from his party’s right wing and before Sunday’s demonstration, which Podemos also criticized. That is why the Catalans also unanimously rejected the budget, because so far there has not been the promised dialogue or gestures of detente. The spokesman of the Republican Left (ERC) Joan Tarda, whose formation wanted to go particularly far in accommodating Sanchez, called Sanchez a false player.
One is "too credulous" and for months the head of the government had not given her support for anything "for nothing" Tarda said self-critically. The ERC’s behavior had led to strong tensions in the independence camp, and there was already talk of a split. Tarda spoke of a lost opportunity, because Sanchez was in a state of "rigidity of fear" from the right.
But now it is clear that the unionists are divided and that Spain, through the budget and gestures, has not succeeded in splitting the independence camp. Rather, the parties that together gave Catalonia receivership last fall are falling over each other. Instead of making politics, they used clubs, rubber bullets, judges and prosecutors. The death knell for the budget was given by the Ministry of Public Prosecutions on the second day of the trial of 12 leaders of the independence movement.
While the budget was being debated in Congress, the Ministry maintained the absurd accusations of rebellion and sedition in a trial plagued by irregularities, which defense attorney Jaume Alonso Cuevillas had already elaborated in the Telepolis interview. "All the rules in force" had been changed, he also cited massive violations of defenders’ rights and legal principles. The fact that 120 law professors from various universities all over Spain are "Error" with which "rebellion and insurrection trivialized" are not interested in the prosecution either.
One is a Swiss-Spanish double burger. Manuel Cancio, a professor of criminal law at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, explains the background in detail, knowledgeably and with differentiation on Swiss radio "Show trial" is called. He is now seriously worried about the existence of Spain. Such expert opinions apparently interested neither the prosecutors nor the dubious court presided over by a judge who was supposed to be made chairman of the Supreme Court and the Board of Control, in order to "from behind" for the PP to also control the court that will now judge the Catalans.
The deal blew up, as Der Spiegel also notes. But this very judge is now presiding over the trial, which raises serious questions about its independence. For defense attorneys, bias is clear, as they made clear Tuesday. The numerous legal experts were dismissed by the prosecutors, saying they were a minority and did not have the "high academic prestige". German judges have even been accused of violating European legal norms in the case of Puigdemont’s non-extradition.
Spanish judiciary avoids going to international courts
The only astonishing thing is that the Spanish judiciary had threatened to go to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), but then did not go to Luxembourg to have the case cleared. It was the ECJ that clarified that the decision to withdraw the arrest warrants of investigating judge Pablo Llarena was wrongly founded and that Luxembourg can handle the case.
It is striking that the Spanish judiciary shuns international courts like the devil shuns holy water. The lawyers have asked the court to refer the case to the ECJ. Therefore, the prosecutors complain that attempts are being made to "to bring the case before the European Court of Justice, although it is a matter of national law" go. Since when the Volkerrecht is national law, is the secret of this justice.
It is also trying eloquently to undermine that Spain has transposed into national law in recognition of the people’s right to self-determination. "There is a right of self-determination, which belongs to the Spanish people within the framework of the Spanish constitution." A few, but could "not decide for all", but then the right is reversed. All Spaniards had to decide, since there is no "sovereignty of the Catalan people", but only one "Sovereignty of the Spanish people".
This is only the next contradiction. If the accuser defines a Catalan people, it must also have a right to self-determination according to Spanish laws. Democratic states interpret the right of the people differently anyway. It was the Scots who decided on their independence, not all of Great Britain. It was voted in Quebec and not in all of Canada, and in Kosovo it was even only the parliament that declared independence. And that was approved by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), because this declaration "did not violate the general international law" . The Court in The Hague ruled that there is no international legal norm that prohibits a population from declaring itself independent, even unilaterally. Thus, it is clear why international authorities want to be kept out of the process, because even these lawyers are aware of the strange interpretation of the people’s law.