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PM Pedro Sánchez talks of the 'new normal' in speech to MPs

Sánchez talked with PP leader, Pablo Casado, via videolink on Monday.
Sánchez talked with PP leader, Pablo Casado, via videolink on Monday. / EP
  • The main political parties have agreed that cross-party initiatives to steer Spain out of the Covid-19 crisis will be discussed in a parliamentary commission

The government won the support of MPs on Wednesday to officially extend the state of alarm. In another virtual session, with most MPs watching at home, the extra government powers first authorised from 15 March will continue until at least 9 May, as expected.

As part of the debate in parliament, there was much talk of what the scaling down of restrictions would look like.

Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez estimated that, in the view of Ministers, "the second half of May" would be the moment for a "new normal" with the loosening of lockdown and business activity restrictions.

However the PM is increasingly finding an opposition hostile to the PSOE-Unidas Podemos coalition government's handling of the crisis.

The leader of the main opposition party, the conservative Partido Poplar, Pablo Casado tried in vain to get Sánchez to take blame, and the PM limited himself to admitting "errors" had been made, just as had happened "in all countries".

The PM said he was "prudently optimistic" about the pandemic scenario.

He added that there will be a "winding down" of lockdown in order not to "make any false moves".

He said the moment would be from the end of the latest extension (to May 9), if the numbers of new cases and deaths continued to fall.

However, no details of those next stages were given. "We'll be going from a strict confinement to a more relaxed one," he said.

Progress on pacts

Meanwhile there was progress this week on future large-scale cross-party cooperation measures to help Spain out of the crisis.

The government agreed to the

opposition PP party's proposals that talks could take place within the context of a parliamentary special commission, rather than behind closed doors at government offices as originally suggested.

The exact format has still to be decided and the final shape of the commission is expected to be known within a few days.