Dick Nichols

Despite being prime minister in a minority government, Pedro Sánchez said that his government would run its full term. Why did he change his mind and call early elections?

News and analysis on Catalonia's struggle for self-determination from Green Left Weekly's European bureau.

On February 12, the trial of 12 Catalan politicians and social movement leaders involved in the October 1, 2017 independence referendum is set to begin in the Spanish Supreme Court.

The leaders face sanctions as harsh as 25 year’s jail for their alleged offences — rebellion, sedition and embezzlement of public funds.

On February 15, 2003, in the face of the looming US-led war against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, the Spanish state saw the biggest demonstrations in its history. Part of an immense worldwide anti-war outpouring, about 4 million people turned out.

Leaders of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) were among those at the head of these oceanic demonstrations, which directly targeted the conservative Spanish People’s Party (PP) government of then-prime minister José María Aznar.

In 2019, European and legislative elections will take place in Portugal in a national political context different from anywhere else in the European Union (EU), where austerity policies still reign and the racist and xenophobic right is rising, writes Dick Nichols from Lisbon.

Over the past three years in Portugal, the minority Socialist Party (PS) government has been supported from outside by the Left Bloc, the Communist Party of Portugal (PCP) and the Ecologist Party-The Greens (PEV).

In recent weeks, senior judges in the loftiest halls of the Spanish legal system — the Supreme Court, the National High Court and the Constitutional Court — have been exposed as subverters of a fair legal process, lackeys of Spain’s almighty banking elite and bumbling incompetents, writes Dick Nichols from Barcelona.

Last December 21, Catalonia’s three parliamentary forces supporting independence — Together for Catalonia (JxCat), the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) — won a 70-65 seat majority in the 135-seat Catalan parliament.

Six months of drawn-out negotiations over forming a pro-independence government then followed.

At the June 8 ceremonial handing over of portfolio briefcases from outgoing conservative People’s Party (PP) ministers to their incoming Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) replacements, the contrasts were dramatic.

A bunch of reactionary lifetime political operators and religious obscurantists were replaced by what new Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez boasted was the “progressive”, “feminist” and “Europeanist” alternative.

The Catalan parliament finally voted in a new president on May 14, 199 days after the pro-independence bloc held on to its majority at the December 21 elections imposed by the Spanish government.

The annual conference of Denmark’s Red-Green Alliance (RGA) — commonly known as the Unity List — took place in Copenhagen on April 27-29 during a moment of class struggle unusual in these times of weakened trade unions.

The conference of the radical left force wouldn’t even have happened on those days if Denmark’s public sector unions had been forced to strike in support of their demands over wages and conditions.

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