Zapatero accused of 'breaking up' Spanish state
5 October 2005, MADRID — Spain's premier was accused of 'breaking up' the Spanish state if he backed Catalonia's plans for greater independence from Madrid.
5 October 2005
MADRID — Spain's premier was accused of 'breaking up' the Spanish state if he backed Catalonia's plans for greater independence from Madrid.
Mariano Rajoy, leader of the conservative opposition Popular Party (PP) said Spanish prime minister's support for Catalonia's plans for a new statute giving the region more power would "break-up the constitution and the state".
Rajoy also accused José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of "not being up to his job" because he had "unnecessarily" opened up a debate on the Catalan statute.
Socialist prime minister Zapatero hit back by telling the Spanish parliament during a debate on the issue, Catalonia's statute could be "very positive for Catalonia and give Spain stability".
During a debate in the Senate, Zapatero also suggested Rajoy should stop putting "absurd" fears in the minds of Spaniards over the future of Spain and its constitution.
Before their surprise victory in last year's general election, the Socialists promised regional parties in Catalonia they would reform the constitution to give the province more power.
In order to maintain a majority, the Socialists depend on the support of these parties.
The PP, meanwhile, is opposed to granting Catalonia more power.
Last week, Catalonia moved closer to seeking greater independence from Madrid after agreeing its own statute.
The region in the north-east of Spain, which already has a degree of independence, wants to go one step further.
It wants a greater say over how much taxes it pays to poorer regions of the country, which its politicians feel it is subsidising.
Catalonia also wants public schools to offer both religious and lay teaching and has declared itself a 'nation'.
The document, agreed by the regional government or Generalitat, is now being debated by the national parliament, which may declare parts of it unconstitutional.
It is the third statute which Catalonia has had in under a century.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news