THE Spanish Congress has voted to extend the country’s coronavirus lockdown until May 10.
This evening politicians passed the third extension to the state of alarm, which was originally announced on March 14.
A mammoth 11-hour plenary session ended in the motion being passed with 269 votes in favour, 60 against and 16 abstentions.
Opposition leader Pablo Casado poured scorn on the socialist PSOE government’s handling of the crisis, although his conservative PP party voted with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
There was also backlash from the far right Vox party, which voted against the government, along with the Catalan independents Junts and CUP.
Sanchez received less support for this extension than the previous two.
He said that with ‘prudence and caution’ Spain would move towards a ‘deescalation’ of its coronavirus measures, which the Spanish press has labelled the ‘world’s most draconian’.
The vote comes 24 hours after the announcement that children aged 14 and under would be allowed out for a walk if accompanied by an adult.
Sanchez defended his administration’s handling of the crisis and urged politicians of all sides to ‘leave behind reproaches and divisions’.
But in a stinging rebuke of the PM, Casado said ‘is 22,000 dead effective?’, labelling the government’s actions ‘only propaganda’.
Meanwhile, in a bizarre outburst, Vox leader Santiago Abascal hit out at Second Deputy Prime Minister, Pablo Iglesias of the far left Podemos party.
Absacal accused Iglesias of ‘using the pandemic to advance hatred and communist sectarianism to overthrow the Constitution’.
Against a backdrop of angry debate, Sanchez sought to assuage his critics, by explaining that his government had been working on Spain’s exit strategy for three weeks.
In response to comparisons with other countries, Sanchez added: “The general confinement will not be lifted until we are ready.”