Spain govt wins backing for 2009 budget
The Spanish government has won support to pass its 2009 budget and fend off opposition efforts to block the bill on grounds it is unrealistic during the credit crisis and will stoke unemployment, reported Reuters.
Two Spanish regional parties, the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and the Galician Nationalist Block (BNG), agreed late on Friday not to demand changes to the government's draft budget during a vote in Congress next week.
Spain's Socialists are 7 seats short of a Congressional majority and would gain 8 more if the PNV and BNG stand by an agreement to vote against amendments in the first debate between October 21-22.
"We've decided not to present an amendment, this doesn't mean the deal is closed," said PNV spokesman Josu Erkoreka.
The BNG said it was in the interests of Spain that they backed the budget as households and firms need some guarantees going into the economy's worst slowdown in 15 years.
"It sends a message of stability to Spanish society," said spokesman Jose Antonio Alonso.
In return for their support, the government will spend an extra 210 million euros ($282.8 million) on the autonomous regions of Galicia and the Basque country, newspapers reported.
In the highly unlikely event Spain did not pass a new budget by year end, it would be forced to extend its current one.
Such a move would throw the government into turmoil and could force Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to call an early election.