Sputnik: What will Sanchez have to do to remain in power? Could he make concessions with Catalonia regarding the trial?
Andrew Dowling: I think he can't make any concessions regarding the trial; he'll have to let it play out. It is expected to last three months, and it's still likely to be ongoing by the time of the election.
His party; the Spanish Socialist Party is currently in the lead, but basically no Spanish party for a number of years now, has been able to form a parliamentary majority, so whoever becomes the next Spanish Prime Minister is going to need an alliance with other parties.
I think it's going to be very close. Potentially you have the socialists Podemos, and then lots of other national and regional groupings, and the important thing to note is all the national and regional groupings won't ally with the three Spanish Conservative parties who are standing, so it's a very complex situation and it could be very close.
There's probably a slight advantage to the left; because they've got those other parties in the regions that might support them.
Sputnik: Would Spain ever give Catalonia an official referendum?
Andrew Dowling: No I don't think so; we've seen a kind of doubling down on the rhetoric of Spanish unity in the recent past.
The best the Catalans can hope for in terms of a vote, might be on a new perhaps semi-federal arrangement, where they'll be given the opportunity of a yes or no, but I do not see for the foreseeable future; the possibility of a real referendum, like was held in Scotland.
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