Ex-Spain PM Rajoy defends national unity at separatist trial
MADRID (AP) — Former Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy made a strident defense of Spain's national unity Wednesday when he appeared as a witness at the trial of a dozen Catalan...
Budget defeat puts Spain’s center-left government on ropes
MADRID (AP) — Catalan separatist and right-wing lawmakers in the Spanish parliament's lower house rejected Wednesday the ruling Socialist government's 2019 budget plan, likely paving the way for Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to call an early election.
The 191-158 vote, with one abstention, opened a new crisis in Spanish politics. Members of Sanchez's Cabinet had signaled that a defeat in the budget vote would lead to a fresh general election.
AP Interview: Puigdemont says Catalan trial ‘vengeance’
WATERLOO, Belgium (AP) — The leader of Catalonia's failed secession bid in 2017 says that Spain will seek "vengeance" rather than justice when 12 of his separatist allies stand trial next week accused of rebellion and other charges.
PSV fans who mocked beggars in Madrid face prison sentence
MADRID (AP) — Spanish prosecutors are seeking a one-year prison sentence for each of the three PSV Eindhoven fans being accused of mocking women who were begging in Madrid's central Plaza Mayor before a Champions League match in 2016.
Prosecutors also want the fans to pay 600 euros ($685) to each of the four women they "humiliated" at the iconic plaza in the Spanish capital.
Far-right rally in Madrid draws thousands angry with govt
MADRID (AP) — A few thousand Spaniards have protested in Madrid against the Socialist-led government at a rally organize by marginal right-wing groups.
The protesters gathered in front of the Spanish parliament on Saturday, many holding either the current-day Spanish flag or its predecessor that stood for the dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Rising conservative politician Pablo Casado has been elected as new leader of Spain's Popular Party in a landslide victory, ending a bitter and divisive election.
The 37-year-old lawyer beat his opponent, former deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, with 1701 votes against 1250 on Saturday.
MADRID (AP) — Former Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy vowed loyalty to his Popular Party in an emotional farewell Friday as the conservative party seeks to retake power in Spain.
The 63-year-old politician lost a parliamentary vote last month to his Socialist party opponent, Pedro Sanchez, in the wake of graft convictions for members of his center-right party.
Saudi Arabia signs deal for 5 Spanish-built warships
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabian Military Industries says it has signed a deal with Spanish state-owned shipbuilder Navantia to establish a joint venture to supply five warships.
The announcement Thursday formalizes a plan reached in April when the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, visited Spain and met with then-Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Defense Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal. At that time the agreement was valued at 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion).
MADRID (AP) — Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Monday he wants to remove the remains of the late dictator Gen. Francisco Franco from a controversial mausoleum and turn the site into a monument for reconciliation.
Sanchez told national broadcaster TVE that Spain "cannot afford symbols that separate Spaniards" and that he wants to turn the Valley of the Fallen into "a memorial about the fight against fascism."
MADRID (AP) — Spain's minister of culture resigned Wednesday after just under a week in office after news reports revealed he was fined a decade ago for evading thousands of euros (dollars) in taxes.
Maxim Huerta, a former television presenter and writer, said he did nothing illegal, but chose to step down to shield the new government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez from criticism.
MADRID (AP) — A Spanish court has convicted businesspeople and former conservative politicians in the eastern region of Valencia of graft and money laundering, further tarnishing the image of the party recently ousted from power over a previous corruption ruling.
The National Court found 18 of 20 defendants guilty of participating in a kickbacks-for-contracts scheme that, according to Monday's ruling, helped finance the campaigns of the Popular Party in national, regional and local elections.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain's ousted prime minister Mariano Rajoy announced Tuesday he will step down as leader of the country's conservative Popular Party, just days after his government fell in a no-confidence vote prompted by a corruption scandal.
An emotional Rajoy, who has led the party for 15 years, told party members in Madrid that it was time to end his "journey" and hand over the leadership to someone else at a party congress later this year.
MADRID (AP) — Prime Minister-elect Pedro Sanchez vowed Friday to root out the corruption that helped bring down Spain's outgoing conservative government and pledged to help people affected by years of public spending cuts under his predecessor, Mariano Rajoy.
MADRID (AP) — The Latest on moves to oust Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (all times local):
Catalonia is set to regain its self-government on Saturday, ending a seven-month takeover by central authorities following a bid by separatist leaders to secede from Spain.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Less than two years ago, the man who will become Spain's new prime minister was staring at the premature end of an unremarkable political career.
The heavyweights of Spain's Socialists had forced Pedro Sanchez' removal as their leader. Back-to-back losses by the party in general elections had left Sanchez without credit and he was ostracized after a rebellion from within his own ranks.
MADRID (AP) — Spain's conservative government appeared doomed Thursday to lose a no-confidence vote in parliament, with the center-left Socialist party poised to take power.
A Basque nationalist party's announcement that it would vote in favor of the motion spelled the almost certain end of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's mandate and foretold the stunning collapse of his minority government in a parliamentary vote Friday, when it will be short of support to survive.
MADRID (AP) — The Latest on moves to oust Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (all times local):
A Spanish government spokesman says that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy isn't considering his resignation despite being on the cusp of losing a no-confidence vote in parliament.
The spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to be named in media reports, says Rajoy planned to address the lower house Friday before the vote.
MADRID (AP) — The rhetoric in Spain's political crisis, in which Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is almost certain to lose a no-confidence vote Friday amid a corruption scandal engulfing his party, is turning ugly.
Rajoy's government and his ruling Popular Party, or PP, have been labelled "zombies" in an editorial by leading daily El Pais.
MADRID (AP) — Catalan President Quim Torra has appointed a Cabinet composed of members not being investigated in a judicial probe into last year's independence bid, paving the way for an end to the seven-month vacuum in the regional government.
MADRID (AP) — Spain's parliament agreed Monday to subject Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to a vote of no confidence this week in the wake of graft convictions of businesspeople and officials tied to his conservative Popular Party.
The lower house of Spain's parliament, the Congress of Deputies, said it would hold a debate Thursday on whether Rajoy should be replaced by Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez and then vote on the opposition's no-confidence motion Friday.
MADRID (AP) — Spanish opposition parties launched a fierce campaign Friday to end the conservative government of Mariano Rajoy after courts ruled that his Popular Party profited from a large kickbacks-for-contracts scheme.
MADRID (AP) — The conviction of more than two dozen Spanish businesspeople and officials in a major corruption scandal triggered political turmoil Thursday after the court ruled that the country's governing party benefited from the biggest kickbacks-for-contracts scheme in four decades of democratic rule.
MADRID (AP) — Spain's parliament is set to pass the national budget proposal for 2018 on Wednesday, giving the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy some breathing space as it battles Catalan separatism.
Basque nationalist lawmakers have made a last-minute U-turn on their earlier promise not to support Rajoy's public spending plan as long as the ruling Popular Party remained in control in Catalonia.
MADRID (AP) — Catalonia's newly elected president is showing no sign of backing down from the region's political standoff with Spanish authorities, insisting he wants jailed former lawmakers to join his pro-independence Catalan government.
Quim Torra says Jordi Turull and Josep Rull, prominent secessionists who are in pre-trial detention, are keen to become government ministers and have asked a judge to release them. Torra visited them at their jails near Madrid on Monday.
MADRID (AP) — Spain's government says it is studying the "viability" of the proposal by Catalonia's separatist leader to name former lawmakers who are in jail or fugitives from justice to his new Cabinet.
Spanish government official Jose Maria Jover said in a letter to the regional Catalan government Sunday that without the central government's authorization, the four proposed Cabinet members won't be able to take their posts.
MADRID (AP) — The foreign ministers of Spain and China say they want free trade and will fight protectionism amid disputes with the United States over possible tariffs.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Thursday during a visit to Madrid that Beijing seeks to "maintain multilateralism and free trade against unilateralism and protectionism."
The Trump administration has threatened to impose tariffs on some Chinese imports.
BERLIN (AP) — Catalonia's president-elect asked Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday to talk with the region's separatist leaders, a request the incoming Catalan leader made while visiting his predecessor in Berlin.
MADRID (AP) — A top politician for Spain's ruling party resigned Wednesday as the head of the Madrid region following a string of personal scandals, opening a new crisis for the conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Regional president Cristina Cifuentes announced her resignation hours after a website broadcast a video allegedly showing her shoplifting cosmetics in a supermarket seven years ago.
MADRID (AP) — The crown prince of Saudi Arabia was on an official visit Thursday to longtime commercial ally Spain, where activists are criticizing past and possible future sales of military equipment to the kingdom.
Mohammed bin Salman was due to attend a banquet with Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia before meeting with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and with Defense Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal.
Fugitive Catalan leader asks Spain to restore his government
MADRID (AP) — Catalonia's fugitive former president has called for Spanish authorities to open negotiations regarding the restitution of what he calls his "legitimate government."
Carles Puigdemont said via social media channels from Brussels on Saturday that Spain should "recognize the election results of Dec. 21 and start negotiating politically with the legitimate government of Catalonia."
Spain: Catalonia’s new parliament to convene Jan. 17
MADRID (AP) — Spain's prime minister said Friday he intends to convene Catalonia's new parliament on Jan. 17 and hopes the restive region's next government won't renew the push for independence that fueled a serious political crisis.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy set the date just over a week after a regional parliamentary election resulted in the separatist parties he hoped to keep out of power again winning the most seats and in turn a good chance to lead the next Catalan government.
Spain’s king addresses Catalonia in Christmas Eve speech
MADRID (AP) — King Felipe VI used his traditional Christmas Eve address Sunday night to call on Catalonia's newly elected parliament to renounce further moves toward secession from Spain.
"The way forward cannot once again lead to confrontation or exclusion that, as we now know, only generates discord, uncertainty, anguish," the Spanish monarch said in a televised speech.
Catalan vote does little to clarify Spanish region’s future
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain's worst political crisis in decades showed few signs of abating Friday after Catalan separatist parties clinched a parliamentary majority in an exceptional election called by the country's prime minister, who remained steadfast in his refusal to consider independence for the prosperous region.
The Latest: Spain PM willing to talk with Catalonia leaders
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Latest on the election results in Catalonia (all times local):
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says he expects a "new era based on dialogue" will begin in Catalonia following a regional election that exposed the sharp divisions between citizens for and against independence.
Catalan separatists regain majority in regional election
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Catalonia's secessionist parties won enough votes Thursday to regain a slim majority in the regional parliament and give new momentum to their political struggle for independence from Spain.
It was hardly an emphatic victory, however, as the separatists lost support compared to the previous vote in 2015, and a pro-unity party for the first time became biggest single bloc in the Catalan parliament.
The Latest: Puigdemont: Catalan result slap in face to Rajoy
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Latest on the regional election in Catalonia (all times local):
Catalonia's fugitive leader of its separatist movement says that the collective victory of pro-secession parties in elections in the Spanish region represents "a slap to the face" of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Carles Puigdemont told a rally in Brussels that "the Spanish state has been defeated."
An atypical election likely to extend Catalonia’s suffering
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Catalans choose new political leaders in a highly contested election on Thursday that comes in extraordinary circumstances.
The vote was called by central authorities to quell a separatist revolt in Spain's northeastern region. Fugitive and jailed separatist candidates are competing with unionists who claim to be in the best position to return stability and growth to Catalonia. And officials have vowed to fight online misinformation that could taint the electoral outcome.
The Latest: Spanish PM Rajoy appeals to voters in Catalonia
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Latest on Catalonia's political crisis (all times local):
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has campaigned for his party ahead of a regional election in Catalonia by boasting about his government's crackdown on Catalan separatists.
Rajoy called the election being held Thursday after he dismissed the region's pro-secession government following a declaration of independence by regional lawmakers on Oct. 27.
The Latest: UK leader backs visiting Spain PM on Catalonia
MADRID (AP) — The Latest on the crisis in Catalonia (all times local):
British Prime Minister Theresa May has re-emphasized her backing for Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's handling of the separatist crisis in Catalonia.
May said Tuesday while welcoming Rajoy to a Downing Street visit that she wants to reiterate her support for the approach the Spanish government is using to contain the separatist movement.
EU official backs Spain in fight against Catalan secession
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Catalonia's secessionist push is nothing short of a "disaster" that the European Union will work to impede in support of a unified Spain, the European Commission's president said in comments published Sunday.
Spain says nation’s chief prosecutor has died in Argentina
MADRID (AP) — The Spanish government says the country's top prosecutor has died in Argentina.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy tweeted the government*s condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of chief prosecutor Jose Manuel Maza on Saturday evening.
Spain*s private Europa Press news agency and other media outlets reported that Maza died Saturday in a Buenos Aires hospital where he had been admitted for an unspecified infection.
The Latest: Spanish PM will respect Belgium on extradition
BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on the political crisis in Catalonia (all times local):
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy say he will respect whatever decision the Belgian courts make regarding Spain's extradition request for fugitive Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four of his sacked ministers in Brussels.
Spanish PM says stability in Catalonia to trigger GDP growth
MADRID (AP) — Next year's economic growth figures could be adjusted strongly upward if normality returns to Catalonia following regional elections next month, Spain's prime minister said Tuesday.
GDP growth expectations for 2018 had been increasing, but the government lowered the estimate from 2.6 percent to 2.3 percent, citing instability in the prosperous northeast, where a clash with regional separatist authorities has scared both companies and tourists.
Spanish PM urges Catalans to defeat separatists at polls
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy urged voters in Catalonia on Sunday to defeat the separatists who led the region's recent drive for independence when they go to the polls in an early election next month.
Rajoy, who used previously untapped constitutional authority to call the Dec. 21 regional election, told members of his conservative Popular Party at a Barcelona hotel that "we want a massive turnout to open up a new period of normalcy" in Catalonia.
The Latest: Lawyer says no decision by Puigdemont on asylum
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Latest on the Spain-Catalonia political crisis (all times local):
The Belgian lawyer of ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont says that it is not decided yet whether he will be seeking political asylum in Belgium.
Paul Bekaert told VRT network that Puigdemont "consulted me and came to ask for advice."
He added that "he is not in Belgium to specifically ask for political asylum. That is not decided yet."
Ousted Catalan leader vows peaceful resistance to Spain
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Catalonia's ousted leader called for peaceful opposition to Spain's decision to take direct control of the region, saying Saturday that he and other regional officials fired by the central government will keep "working to build a free country."
Carles Puigdemont's comments, made in a recorded televised address that was broadcast as he sat in a cafe in his hometown of Girona, were a veiled refusal to accept his Cabinet's dismissal as ordered by central authorities.
AP ANALYSIS: Catalonia endgame keeps Spain on tenterhooks
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative government is aiming to crush Catalonia's secessionist aspirations by firing the wealthy region's government, dissolving its parliament and calling early elections there.
It may have opened a Pandora's box, however, and the plan could easily blow up in Rajoy's face.
Spain is still, as El Pais commentator Ricardo de Querol wrote in Saturday's edition, in "a high-risk situation."
The Latest: Hundreds against independence rally in Barcelona
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Latest on the Spain-Catalonia political crisis (all times local):
Not everyone in Catalonia is pleased with their regional government's vote to declare independence from Spain.
Hundreds of people against independence marched Friday night in downtown Barcelona, waving Spanish flags.