SPAIN’S sixth and last extension to the state of alarm has been approved.
It means the current state of alarm – or lockdown – will end on June 21.
The Congress of Deputies approved the extension today, with 177 votes, just ONE more than the absolute majority required.
There were 155 votes against, while 18 of those in Spain’s 350-seat Parliament abstained.
It comes as:
- Spain registered its first coronavirus-related death since Sunday
- The PP labelled Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias’ father ‘a terrorist’
- The Government confirmed that its ERTE scheme would be in place until the end of the 2020
The state of alarm was announced on March 14, meaning Spain will have been ‘locked down’ for 15 weeks when it emerges into a ‘new normal’ on June 21.
Today’s six hour-hour debate saw PP leader Pablo Casado and Vox leader Sabtiago Abascal as the main pushers of arguments against an extension.
The Government’s 155 PSOE and Podemos deputies all voted for extending the state of alarm.
They were backed by Ciudadanos (10), the PNV (six), Mas Pais-Equo (two), as well as the Coalicion Canaria-Nueva Canarias, PRC and Teruel Existe.
The 177 ‘for’ votes is the same number of those in support of the last extension of the state of alarm a fortnight ago.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (pictured) told the House that by supporting an extension they would be ‘facilitating the transformation of the economy towards another more sustainable model’.
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He also announced that next week a royal decree would be approved, giving Spain’s 17 regions the powers to determine their own health measures in response to the pandemic.
“We have overcome the worst of the pandemic,” Sanchez said in his opening remarks.
He also spoke on other issues, which have ignited political debate in recent weeks, including the 8-M International Women’s Day rally, which has been a focal point of the criticism of the Government’s handling of the crisis.
Sanchez said: “I say it loud and clear, long live the 8-M.”
Casado hit out at Sanchez, labelling him ‘a lame duck with the worst and blackest balance in democracy’.
The PP leader also claimed that 8-M march had in fact put thousands of women at risk of contracting coronavirus.
Held just a week before lockdown was announced, this mass gathering has been widely touted as a significant event in helping the virus spread in Spain.
Other high profile events with large crowds partly blamed for the crisis in Spain include the Valencia-Atalanta football match in Bergamo, which was dubbed a ‘biological bomb’, and the Vox rally in Madrid.
Vox leader Abascal, who himself tested positive for COVID-19, has been consistently critical of the Government’s navigation of the crisis.
Today, he also hit out at the 8-M and again slammed Spain’s deputy leader Iglesias.
He said: “Shouting ‘Long live the 8-M’ is like shouting ‘Long live disease and death’.
“They [the Government] are now buying hundreds of thousands of votes with a minimum income that is nothing more than a sentence for us to resign ourselves to their Bolivian government.
“You are not a government, you are only the branch of some billionaire progressives and some communist drug addicts.”