A new political crisis was looming this week for Spanish Tory prime minster Mariano Rajoy over Catalonia and a crucial budget vote.
If he survives, it will be because of the Labour-type Socialist Party.
The Spanish state imposed direct rule in Catalonia seven months ago after its people voted overwhelmingly for independence.
After Catalan parliamentary elections returned a majority in favour of independence, Rajoy used legal manoeuvres to block a series of candidates from becoming Catalan president.
The parliament at last elected a president—Quim Torra who is on the right wing of the independence movement.
The anti-capitalist CUP party said it would go into opposition against Torra’s government.
Torra’s cabinet includes Catalan MPs who are imprisoned or in exile, and Rajoy has responded by saying that direct rule over Catalonia will be maintained.
Disgracefully the Socialist Party has backed him.
But in a budget vote that was set for Thursday of this week, Rajoy needed the support of the PNV Basque nationalist party.
It said it would not back him unless he ditches direct rule.