Spanish PM out of options amid reports of snap vote

By BLOOMBERG

MADRID • Spanish Prime Minister (PM) Pedro Sanchez’s budget plans are threatening to unravel amid reports that he’s considering calling a snap election for April.

After his conservative rivals staged a show of strength by bringing tens of thousands of demonstrators onto the streets of Madrid, Efe news agency reported that Sanchez is considering calling elections for April 14. A press officer for the PM said the government is focused on getting its budget passed this week.

Protesters in the heart of Madrid on Sunday were demanding an election and accused the PM of being soft in talks with Catalan separatists.

They waved Spanish flags and shouted “Long Live the Constitution, Long Live Spain.”

Sanchez is heading into a critical week that could shape the rest of his premiership. He is struggling to win support from Catalan parties he needs to pass his budget when it goes to a vote in Parliament tomorrow.

The budget showdown coincides with the start of the trial today of the separatists who led the 2017 push for independence. Catalan lawmakers are wary of supporting his Socialist government while judges are trying their colleagues.

“This week will be crucial to see if there are elections or not, depending on whether Sanchez can move ahead with the budget,” said Antonio Barroso, an analyst at Teneo Intelligence. — Bloomberg