Spanish PM – Catalonia veto of new Senate chief would undermine dialogue

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned on Wednesday that the likely rejection by Catalan pro-independence parties of his Catalan nominee for chairman of Spain’s Senate would undermine dialogue and co-existence with the northeastern region.

FILE PHOTO: Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez heads to a meeting at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Susana Vera/File Photo

The potential new rift comes at a difficult time when Sanchez, whose Socialists won last month’s general election without securing a parliamentary majority, needs all the support he can get from regional parties to stay in power.

“They (Catalan parties) are not vetoing Miquel Iceta, what they are vetoing is co-existence, dialogue, understanding,” Sanchez said during a political event in northern Spain.

The acting premier announced last week that he would nominate Iceta, the Catalan Socialist leader, as chief of the upper chamber of parliament, a move widely seen as a conciliatory signal to Catalonia and its secessionist groups.

Sanchez has made overtures over the past year to establish a dialogue and give Catalonia a greater degree of autonomy, while ruling out an independence referendum for the region.

Catalonia briefly declared independence in 2017 after a referendum deemed illegal by Spanish courts.

The Socialists have a majority in Spain’s upper house and had expected the nomination of Iceta to be easily approved.

Still, Iceta, whose Socialists are not part of Catalonia’s pro-independence camp, would first need to be designated as a senator by the Catalan assembly, which was to vote on the matter on Thursday.

But it looked all but certain to fail after the ERC – a pro-independence party that garnered the most votes in Catalonia in the April election – said on Wednesday it would reject the nomination on the grounds that it was imposed on them.

The far-left separatist CUP also announced it would reject Iceta’s bid and it is widely expected that pro-independence Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia), which controls the Catalan government, will do the same.

The three secessionist parties have 65 seats in the regional parliament, the same as its unionist parties, which could lead to a tie in Thursday’s vote on Iceta’s nomination – and that would mean it could not proceed, according to the chamber’s rules.

Iceta has vowed to take his case to the Constitutional Court. “It (failed nomination) would be a democratic outrage,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Catalonia was a central issue in the run-up to the national election, with the opposition accusing Sanchez of undermining Spain’s territorial integrity by granting concessions to Catalan separatists.

To be sworn in again as prime minister, Sanchez will need the support of other leftist parties plus at least one vote or abstention from Basque or Catalan nationalist parties.

Editing by Andrei Khalip and Mark Heinrich

Source

more recommended stories

  • Massive San Juan protest demands Puerto Rico governor resign

    SAN JUAN (Reuters) – Hundreds of.

  • Hong Kong police criticised over failure to stop attacks on protesters

    HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong.

  • Spain’s Sanchez signals coalition deal close, sets out government plans

    MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s acting prime.

  • Israel demolishes Palestinian homes near West Bank barrier

    SUR BAHER, West Bank (Reuters) –.

  • Saudi minister says Iran’s actions are unacceptable

    Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned.

  • Smoke spread so fast at Japanese animation firm victims couldn’t open rooftop door

    KYOTO, Japan (Reuters) – Smoke spread.

  • China strikes secret deal to allow armed forces at Cambodian naval base – WSJ

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China will be.

  • Britain weighs response to Iran Gulf crisis with few good options

    DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) – Britain was weighing.

  • UK weighs response to Iran Gulf crisis with few good options

    DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) – Britain was weighing.

  • Hong Kong’s black-clad protesters target Beijing’s representative office

    HONG KONG (Reuters) – Thousands of.

  • All 23 crew of seized British-operated tanker are safe – Iranian TV

    Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned.

  • Pacifist constitution reform at stake as Japan goes to polls

    TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister.

  • Leader of moderate Islamist party to stand for parliamentary elections in Tunisia

    FILE PHOTO: Rached Ghannouchi, head of.

  • Iran says it seized British tanker, denies U.S. brought down drone

    DUBAI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iran said it.

  • U.S. should reject ‘prejudice’ on China religious rights – state media

    SHANGHAI (Reuters) – The United States.

  • Saudi king approves hosting U.S. troops to enhance regional security – SPA

    FILE PHOTO – Saudi Arabia’s King.

  • Pompeo says Iran needs to ‘come to the table’ for talks as tensions rise

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

  • Meteo France revises June record temperature to 46 degrees Celsius

    FILE PHOTO: A woman escapes with.

  • Italy’s Di Maio calls for meeting with Salvini in peace offering

    ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s Deputy Prime.

  • Australia ‘deeply disappointed’ by writer’s detention in China

    SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia is “deeply.

  • Japan summons South Korea envoy in escalating row over wartime forced labour

    TOKYO/SEOUL (Reuters) – Japanese Foreign Minister.

  • Mexico tells U.S. it’s not ready for ‘safe third country’ deal -ambassador

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Mexico has told.

  • U.S. not looking at sanctions on Turkey right now – Trump

    FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump.

  • Mexico not ready for safe-third-country agreement with U.S. – ambassador

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Mexico is not.

  • Bangladesh floods worsen after breach, death toll nears 100 in India

    DHAKA/GUWAHATI, INDIA (Reuters) – One of.

  • More than 10 feared dead in suspected Japan animation studio arson

    An aerial view shows firefighters battling.

  • U.S. Senator Schumer asks FBI, FTC to probe Russia’s FaceApp over security concerns

    (Reuters) – U.S. Senate minority leader.

  • Judge in Durst murder case rules jurors may consider handwriting evidence

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Jurors in.

  • ‘Artificial snow’ could save stricken Antarctic ice sheet – study

    LONDON (Reuters) – Governments could stop.

  • Mexican drug lord ‘El Chapo’ to spend life behind bars – U.S. judge

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Joaquin “El.

  • WHO reports new Ebola incident in Uganda

    GENEVA (Reuters) – A fishmonger vomited.

  • Taiwan issues warnings for year’s first typhoon as thousands evacuated

    TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan moved thousands.