Spain’s PM Sanchez opens door to shorter state of alarm than six months

Spain’s PM Pedro Sanchez faces opposition in Congress over his plan for a six-month extension to the emergency measure, El Pais writes on Wednesday ahead of the vote on Thursday. The emergency state was declared last Sunday in a bid to introduce tougher restrictions on mobility amid a new rise in coronavirus cases that is straining the country’s healthcare system.

Faced with criticism, the leader of the Socialist Party (PSOE) on Wednesday proposed a review of the coronavirus situation four months from now by a committee of central and regional health officials. If, by then, this group says there is no further need for a state of alarm, the government will lift it ahead of its own planned deadline of 9 May, Sanchez said.

But the main opposition Popular Party (PP) wants a shorter, two-month state of alarm, particularly with a view to saving the Christmas season. PP chief Pablo Casado on Wednesday accused Sanchez of circumventing parliament and described his six-month plan as an abuse of power.

Other parties have also expressed misgivings about the executive’s intentions, some of them said they wanted more frequent congressional oversight. Podemos wants Sanchez to report to Congress once a month.

The government’s plan will be put to the vote on Thursday in the lower house of parliament, where Sanchez heads a minority government with the leftist Unidas Podemos.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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