Spain premier gets backing for budget in key political test

May 23, 2018 - 9:29 am

MADRID (AP) — Spain's parliament is set to pass the national budget proposal for 2018, giving the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy some breathing space as it battles Catalan separatism.

Basque nationalist lawmakers have made a last-minute U-turn on their earlier promise not to support Rajoy's public spending plan as long as the ruling Popular Party remained in control in Catalonia.

A vote on the budget plan is scheduled for later Wednesday in the national parliament. It will take effect in June after it's passed by the Senate, where Rajoy's party holds a comfortable majority.

Five votes of the moderate Basque nationalists were needed to avert a major political crisis that would have put pressure on Rajoy to call an early election.

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