Thousands Rally In Madrid Calling For Prime Minister's Resignation

Catalonia Secession Crisis
People gather during a protest called by right-wing opposition parties against Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (Photo: Reuters)

Thousands of people filled the streets of Madrid to call for the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. The mostly right-wing crowd gathered in Spain's capital over the weekend to protest the prime minister's apparent mishandling of the Catalonia secession crisis.

The entire rally was organized by the Popular Party and the Citizens party. The crowds assembled at the rally waved the national flag while calling for their socialist leader's resignation. According to the president of the Popular Party, Pablo Casado, the people apparently have had enough of Sanchez's government and they are now aiming to punish him and his cohorts in the upcoming local and regional elections in May.

The rising tensions amongst Spain's residents come as a direct result of the upcoming Supreme Court hearings that will involve the possible conviction of 12 Catalan separatist members. All of the 12 members are facing serious criminal charges, which includes rebellion. The arrested separatist members were allegedly involved in the failed secession attempt in 2017.

Former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy wasn't able to stop the secession attempt during his term; resulting in Sanchez inheriting the bulk of the problems. During a speech at a socialist event, Sanchez reiterated that he stood by his predecessor during the October 2018 independence referendum against the Spanish courts. He added that he is simply trying to solve the national crisis without disrespecting the country's constitution.

Sanchez' previously made it clear that he intends to unite all Spaniards. Shortly after he came to power, Sanchez immediately met with Catalan leaders and central authorities in Madrid. During their various meetings, Sanchez helped broker negotiations to help Catalan lawmakers make a new Charter Law. The Charter Law would be subject to the agreement of both parties and would indicate the terms of Catalan's self-rule.

Sanchez met with Catalan leaders on various occasions, but negotiations suddenly halted last week. The government reportedly did not agree with the separatist's demand for an independence referendum. According to Vice President Carmen Calvo, negotiations were no longer possible as the separatists apparently didn't want to budge from their demands.

Sanchez still needs the support of the Catalan separatists and other parties to pass his national budget. Failure to do garner enough votes will likely result in Sanchez having to call on an early election. Sanchez previously announced that he fully intends to see out the legislative terms, but the recent negotiation roadblocks may make it hard for him to reach that goal.

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