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Spain

Yearbook 2018

Spain. After a vote of no confidence, initiated by the Socialist Party (PSOE), Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was forced to resign in early June. According to Countryaah.com, the reason for the distrust was a mutiny in which the representatives of the Rajoys party People's Party (PP) were involved. In the vote in Parliament, 180 members voted for Rajoy's resignation, while 169 voted against (Rajoy had already defeated before the vote). That meant the country got a new government and a new Prime Minister, PSOE's Pedro Sánchez. Shortly thereafter, Mariano Rajoy also resigned as party leader for PP. He was replaced in July by 37-year-old Pablo Casado, who is considered tough on the issue of Catalan independence.

2018 Spain

When the government was presented, it emerged that Spain had gained a government dominated by women, among other things in the heavy posts of Finance Minister (María Jesús Montero), Minister of Defense (Margarita Robles) and Minister of Justice (Dolores Delgado). Foreign Minister became former European Parliament President Josep Borrell, and he was one of only five male ministers except Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. The government was also considered to be clearly EU-friendly.

To increase openness and transparency in the country, at the end of September, the government promised to publish assets for over 1,000 elected politicians and officials, including 38 sitting and former ministers. The promise then came two ministers, Justice Minister Dolores Delgado and Research Minister Pedro Duque, accused of corruption and tax evasion respectively.

At the end of November, Spain accepted the draft EU-UK Brexit Agreement. This is after an agreement has been reached on Gibraltar exceptions: Spain will be consulted on all matters related to Gibraltar. Prime Minister Sánchez had vetoed the EU vote, which took place that week.

Regarding Catalonia, it was thought at the beginning of the year that the deposed separatist leader Carles Puigdemont would be able to rule Catalonia from Belgium. It was hoped that he would be sworn into exile, via video link or through a representative, in the vote on a new regional president that was scheduled to take place on January 31. Namely, at the Catalan new election on December 21, 2017, the separatist parties won by almost a majority. However, the idea was dismissed by the Spanish central government, which meant that direct government from the central government will continue if Puigdemont, who was deposed by Madrid on October 27, 2017, is nevertheless elected regional president. Should Puigdemont return home, he risked being arrested, despite his parliamentary immunity. Since Puigdemont was unable to physically attend the vote in the Catalan Parliament, the President chose to postpone the vote,

In mid-May, Joaquim "Quim" Torra was elected new regional president of Catalonia. This was done on a proposal from the departed and exiled regional president Carles Puigdemont. He was not elected unanimously, only after four failed attempts and with the lowest possible margin. The appointment could have put an end to Catalonia's almost seven-month direct rule from the Spanish capital.

But Torra chose to provoke Madrid by presenting a government that, contrary to Spanish demands, contained two imprisoned ministers (Jordi Turull and Josep Rull) and two in Belgian exile (Antoni Comín and Lluís Puig). However, these were not included in the revised draft government which Torra was forced to present in early June. With Spain now accepting this government, it was possible to repeal Article 155 of the Constitution, which the Central Government activated in the fall of 2017 to abolish the regional government, dissolve the regional parliament and announce new elections. Perhaps the crisis with Catalonia would now be over, a crisis that Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos claimed at the beginning of the year had cost the country 1 billion euros. He said in Spanish radio that "Catalonia used to have growth that was larger than Spain's, it was one of the drivers of the Spanish economy.

To reduce tensions with Catalonia, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez proposed in early September to hold a referendum in the region on a higher degree of autonomy - but not independence that the Catalan regional government requires. Sánchez hereby showed a milder attitude towards Catalan independence aspirations, compared to PP's new party leader Pablo Casado, who is completely opposed to Catalan independence.

Since Italy stopped accepting boat refugees by rescue boats, Spain has become an increasingly common target for migrants fleeing Africa to seek a better life in Europe. In July, it was reported that nearly 20,000 migrants had arrived on the Spanish coast so far during the year, which was three times as many as in the same period in 2017.

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