PSC and Podemos call for budget talks to continue

A day after Catalan president Quim Torra ruled out any possibility of an agreement to support Spain’s Socialist government’s budget for 2019, due to the heavy jail terms demanded for the imprisoned Catalan leaders by the public prosecutor, the Podemos and Catalan Socialist (PSC) parties called for the two issues to be kept separate so as to allow talks to go ahead.

The head of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, said he understood “the rage” felt by pro-independence supporters, with former vice president Oriol Junqueras possibly facing 25 years in prison over the independence push last year. Yet, Iglesias appealed to the PDeCAT and ERC pro-independence parties to back the state government’s budget: “How does it help the Catalan political prisoners not to raise the minimum wage?” he asked rhetorically.

Meanwhile, PSC head Miquel Iceta also called to keep the two political debates apart, saying it was a “very serious mistake” to link the passing of the budget with the situation of the jailed leaders, and pointed out that “the trial has not yet happened.” Iceta also pointed to the “independence” of the judiciary, saying “a government cannot decide who and who does not go to prison,” while calling it “absurd” to pretend that “nothing had happened here,” in reference to the bid for independence.

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