The Spanish Parliament voted today to extend the state of emergency ( estado de alarma ) for an additional 15 days. The vote will allow the coalition government of Pedro Sanchez to maintain all emergency powers to deal with the ongoing coronavirus situation.
Today´s extention will take the present emergency powers until the 24th May. Sanchez had last week announced a phased return to a “new normality” expected by the end of June. The vote today is the fourth approval extention of the initial two week state of emergency announced on March 14th.
However Sanchez has been met with increasing criticism of his handling including a perceived lack of an exit strategy for the situation. The prime minister pleaded with deputies arguing that so far the country had only seen “a partial victory against the virus” and that lifting the present emergency measures would be “an absolute mistake.”
The dividing line between implementing the state of emergency lockdown and maintaining individual freedoms has been a sensitive area for the Podermos / PSOE coalition. Sanchez insisted that ” rights remain intact, not a single liberty has been violated”. However the leader of the Partido Popular (PP) Pablo Casado, accused the socialist leader of heading a “constitutional dictatorship.” The harshest words came from the Vox leader Santiago Abascal who accused Sanchez of “blackmail” and that the only way to save lives and jobs would be to “change government.”
The government´s majority was due to last minute deals with the smaller parties such as the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), who voted in favour of the extention in exchange for a commitment that future de-escalation measures will made in conjunction with the 17 Spanish Autonomous Communities
To date Spain has recorded 253,682 cases of Covid 19 of which 25,857 have died and 159,359 recovered.