SPAIN’S Prime Minister has said he has no plans to call an early general election as opposition politicians and officials from his own party continue to lobby for a poll.
Pedro Sanchez faced calls from Albert Rivera, leader of the centrist Ciudadanos party, to hold a snap election in order to help resolve the ongoing independence push in Cataluña.
Members of the Prime Minister’s ruling left-leaning Partido Socialista (PSOE) have also said Sanchez should bring elections forward to capitalise on the party’s lead in the polls.
It comes as scandals continue to dog the government, with many PSOE officials fearing they could derail hopes of a future election victory.
Rivera claimed Spain was currently in the hands of Cataluña’s pro-independence president Quim Torra.
An election was the only way to loosen what Rivera said was Torra’s hold on power, the Ciudadanos leader added.
Rivera also called for Article 155, the constitutional mechanism used to impose direct rule on the region following last year’s independence referendum and declaration, to be reinstated.
Sanchez said his administration wanted to continue on the path of dialogue with Cataluña within the bounds of the law.
“The answer is clear. We want self-government and co-existence. Not independence,” he said on Twitter.
The Prime Minister added he would hold elections if the Catalans chose to prioritise conflict over collaboration.
It was his policy to wait until 2020, the end of the current legislative term, to hold a national vote and that he had no plans to bring it forward.
PSOE officials have reportedly become concerned that scandals which have seen two ministers resign since the party took power in June could hamper its election chances going forward.
The PSOE is currently around 10 points ahead of the opposition conservative Partido Popular (PP).