Catalan Independence Leaders Sentenced to 9-13 Years in Prison

Catalans demonstrate for independence from Spain in Barcelona, October 3, 2017
Catalans demonstrate for independence from Spain in Barcelona, October 3, 2017 (Fotomovimiento)
  • Nine Catalan separatist leaders have been found guilty of sedition and in some cases misuse of public funds by Spain’s Supreme Court.
  • Among the convicted is former Catalan vice president, and leader of one of the two largest independence parties in the region, Oriol Junqueras, who has been sentenced to thirteen years in prison.
  • The Supreme Court threw out the most serious charge, rebellion, which carries a 25-year prison sentence.
  • Demonstrations have broken out across Catalonia. Protesters are blocking major streets in Barcelona. Some are attempting to occupy the airport. Read more

Little Movement in Spanish Election Polls

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez speaks at a congress of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party in Huesca, October 1
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez speaks at a congress of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party in Huesca, October 1 (PSOE/Eva Ercolanese)

There hasn’t been a lot of movement in the polls since Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez failed to form a government in September and early elections were called for November. Read more

Spain Will Almost Certainly Have to Call Elections Again

Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Albert Rivera speak in Madrid, February 4, 2016
Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Albert Rivera speak in Madrid, February 4, 2016 (PSOE)

A possible last-minute deal between Spain’s ruling Socialist Party and the liberal Citizens collapsed on Tuesday, forcing caretaker prime minister Pedro Sánchez to either attempt a stitch-up with the far left or call elections in November, which would Spain’s fourth in as many years.

The Citizens, who had for months ruled out voting in Sánchez’ favor over his willingness to negotiate with the ruling parties in Catalonia, offered to abstain from an investiture vote if the Socialist ruled out taxes increases on the middle class and pardons for Catalan leaders who are on trial for organizing an unauthorized independence vote two years ago.

Sánchez claims he agreed to the terms; the Citizens insist he did not.

Polls suggest the Citizens could lost a quarter of their support in an early election. Their indecisiveness is causing them to lose voters to both the Socialists on the left and the People’s Party on the right.

But the Socialists are unlikely to gain enough support for a majority, meaning in two months Spain could be back where it is now. Read more

Democratic Race Stable as Ten Candidates Qualify for Debate

Former American vice president Joe Biden campaigns in Iowa City, Iowa, May 1, 2018
Former American vice president Joe Biden campaigns in Iowa City, Iowa, May 1, 2018 (Biden for President)

Ten candidates have qualified for the third Democratic presidential debate, to be held in two weeks’ time, putting pressure on the low-polling candidates to drop out.

New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who failed to qualify, ended her campaign on Wednesday, joining John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Seth Moulton and Eric Swalwell.

Michael Bennet, Bill de Blasio, Steve Bullock, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Tim Ryan, Tom Steyer and Marianne Williamson remain in the race, although they have little support.

The ten candidates who qualified are: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang.

Of those, Biden is the clear frontrunner while Sanders and Warren share second place in the polls. Read more

American Deficits to Top Trillion Dollars for All of Next Decade

View of the United States Capitol in Washington DC in the early morning, January 15, 2017
View of the United States Capitol in Washington DC in the early morning, January 15, 2017 (DoD/William Lockwood)

The Congressional Budget Office has run the numbers on America’s fiscal outlook and it’s not pretty. Read more

Johnson Warns Brexit Delay Will Benefit Labour

Britain's then-foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, answers questions from reporters in Kiev, Ukraine, March 1, 2017
Britain’s then-foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, answers questions from reporters in Kiev, Ukraine, March 1, 2017 (Shutterstock/Nazar Gonchar)

Boris Johnson has finally put his head above the parapet and launched his bid to become Britain’s next prime minister.

At a well-orchestrated event on Wednesday, which saw the former foreign secretary joined by a number of Conservative Party heavyweights, Johnson warned that his party faces an existential crisis if it fails to deliver Brexit.

“Delay means defeat, delay means Corbyn,” he warned.

Britain is due to leave the EU on October 31. Read more

Dutch Ruling Parties Negotiate Two Extra Senate Seats

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte greets Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė in The Hague, June 21, 2017
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte greets Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaitė in The Hague, June 21, 2017 (Presidency of Lithuania/Robertas Dačkus)

The ruling parties in the Netherlands have managed to win an extra two seats in the Senate, giving them more room for negotiation with opposition parties.

The projection was that the four parties in Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coalition win would thirty out of 75 seats in the upper chamber, which would have made them dependent on the Greens to pass legislation.

Now that they have 32, they can also do deals with the Labor Party, which has six. Read more