Since taking office, Spain’s new government led by Socialist party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sanchez has been receiving praise for its pro-EU stance and progressive policies.
On June 17, it decided to welcome the Aquarius rescue ship, which had been drifting in international waters for two days with more than 600 people on board after being rejected by Italy and Malta.
Not everyone in Spain, however, is content with the new government’s performance. Basque and Catalan nationalists, who played a fundamental role in Sanchez’s unexpected rise to power, have mixed feelings about the country’s new leader and government.
Sanchez was sworn in as Spain’s new prime minister on June 2, a day after a vote of no-confidence booted his conservative People’s Party (PP) rival Mariano Rajoy from power. He is now presiding over a minority government, propped up by the leftist Podemos bloc and other parties, including Basque (PNV and EH Bildu) and Catalan (ERC and PdeCat) nationalists.
In other words, Sanchez is Spain’s prime minister today only because he was able to gain the support of the aforementioned parties. He did this by promising to help with the Basque peace process and suspend the application of article 155 of the Constitution on Catalonia.
Article 155 was used by the central government to suspend the region’s autonomy after it held an independence referendum in October 2017, which was deemed illegal by the Spanish courts.
On Sanchez’ first day in office, a new cabinet was sworn in Cata