Catalan political splits may unsteady Zapatero
12 May 2006, BARCELONA — A shake-up in the regional government of Catalonia could have repercussions for the size of the parliamentary majority enjoyed by the ruling Socialists.
12 May 2006
BARCELONA — A shake-up in the regional government of Catalonia could have repercussions for the size of the parliamentary majority enjoyed by the ruling Socialists.
The regional president of Catalonia, Socialist Pasqual Maragall, is to dismiss six government ministers who belong to the independence-minded Esquerra Republicana, or ERC, and call elections to be held after the referendum on ratification of a statute.
The statue will give more autonomy to the region.
The decision came in response to the shift in position of the ERC, which had gone from being the statute's main promoter to calling for a "no" vote on the referendum scheduled for June.
The Spanish Parliament to approve the statute on Wednesday.
The ERC's departure from Catalonia's tripartite government of Socialists, ex-Communists and independence forces could directly impact the alliances of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who has the parliamentary support of Catalan republicans.
At the end of the meeting with Maragall, ERC secretary-general Josep Lluis Carod-Rovira announced his party is to decide if it can still support Zapatero in Madrid.
Zapatero could make up for the possible withdrawal of ERC support from the Socialist Spanish government by relying on the backing of the moderate nationalists of the Convergencia i Unio, or CiU.
It was the pact on the autonomy statute struck between Zapatero and CiU chief Artur Mas that caused the ERC to distance itself from the law.
ERC rejects the agreement because it says the text approved by the Catalan Parliament as "cut substantially" during its discussion in the Spanish legislature.
The new law, which defines Catalonia as a nation in its preamble, has polarized a good part of the political debate in Spain over the past two years because of the opposition of the conservative Popular Party.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news