Pedro Sánchez took the highest number of seats in Congress, but will need the support of Unidas Podemos and regional parties if he is to form a government
And he reiterated Spain’s insistence that negotiations over the future relationship between Gibraltar and the EU should be handled separately to those with the U.K.
“I am very much [more] worried about the unity of the United Kingdom than the unity of the Kingdom of Spain. I think the United Kingdom will split apart before the Kingdom of Spain,” he said, in an apparent reference to movements in both Scotland and Northern Ireland to leave the U.K. over its EU departure.
Spain has faced its own independence claim from the region of Catalonia, which voted to separate in a referendum dubbed illegal by Madrid. The Spanish government has always opposed Scotland being allowed to join the EU, apparently worried that it would start a precedent for newly independent European states to join, encouraging Catalan separatists.
That wasn’t the only bill the Parliament passed today. With 90 votes in favour from JxCat, PSC, En Comú and CUP, ERC’s bill condemning Francoism and the rise of the far-right sailed through. Notably, however, both Ciutadans and PP abstained. The text restates the chamber’s commitment to „democracy and freedoms“ and urges the Catalan government to eliminate any and all Francoist and fascist symbolism from public spaces, official buildings and monuments.
Six people were arrested in Barcelona on Saturday after pro-independence protesters clashed with riot police, and as thousands joined rival demonstrations to mark the first anniversary of Catalonia’s polarizing vote on secession.
At a meeting held Monday night in Barcelona, the ERC, whose leader Oriol Junqueras is being held in pre-trial custody in a Madrid prison in connection with the rebellion probe, confirmed that it wants to avoid a fresh election and that it also wants to avoid disobeying existing laws.