Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has been in office only nine months. He is likely on his way out.
A politically ambitious 2019 budget has failed to clear the Spanish Congress, despite days of negotiations. In response, the Prime Minister is expected to call for new elections in an effort to gain enough seats to force the Socialist budget through.
Reporters from the Spanish newspaper El Pais have released details provided to them from political insiders:
The announcement will take place after the Cabinet meeting. Government sources have suggested April 28 as a possible date, although this will not be confirmed before Friday.El Pais
Sanchez took national leadership after a surprise vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Rajoy was dealing with a corruption scandal that had revealed criminal behavior in many members of his People’s Party. Sanchez took the opportunity to oust Rajoy after suspicions were raised about his possible complicity in some criminal activity.
Sanchez has since maintained his position through a tenuous coalition of left-leaning parties and separatist parties. Sanchez’ refusal to back the Catalan independence efforts caused the separatist parties to pull their support for the budget, leaving Sanchez no path forward but a successful election.
As noted in the Guardian, Catalonia is a disproportionately wealthy area of Spain, and its taxes would be necessary for the heavy spending of the socialist plan. With independence being an issue of paramount importance to the separatists, the question was whether Sanchez would sacrifice their wealth in order to retain temporary power.
In the months since Rajoy was ousted as Prime Minister, the opposition People’s Party has faced an internal realignment, with more radical elements seizing control and pulling the party firmly in the direction of nationalism, away from the pro-American and pro-EU/”Atlanticist” stance which had previously defined the party. It retains its position as Spain’s most populous political group, though, and is likely to emerge the winner in new elections.