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Spain's New Government and the Catalan Crisis

How Sánchez Plans to Undermine the Region's Independence Claims

Spainish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and new ministers hold their first cabinet meeting at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, June 2018.  Susanna Vera / REUTERS

It should come as no surprise that Spain’s new prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has made solving the separatist crisis in Catalonia his top policy priority. As the most pressing issue in Spanish politics, the Catalan crisis looms large over Sánchez’s reelection prospects. No date has been set for Spain’s next general elections, but they are widely expected to come sooner rather than later given the unusual circumstances that brought Sánchez and his Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party to power. It was through a vote of no confidence, an arcane feature of the Spanish constitution, that Sánchez was able to topple the conservative government of Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party. This was the first time in the history of the democratic regime that Spain inaugurated in 1977 that parliament used this procedure to force a change in government.

Even if the Catalan crisis were not

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