Spanish budget passes first Senate vote

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Spanish budget passes first Senate vote

After the draft of 2022 budget passed the first vote at the Parliament in Madrid, Spain, November 4, 2021, Spain's Treasure Minister Maria Jose Montero is applauded by her Socialists Party deputies, including Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and second deputy prime minister Yolanda Diaz. REUTERS Sergio Perez File Photo

MADRID, Nov 25 Reuters -- Spain's minority leftist government won enough support in the deeply fragmented lower house of parliament on Thursday to get approval for its budget, which will now go to the Senate.

It received the backing of 11 parties, most of which are leftist, while the main conservative opposition People's Party PP voted for the far-right Vox and the centre-right Ciudadanos voted against.

Support from Catalonia's separatist left-wing party ERC was a key factor in pushing the bill through the house.

It will now be debated in the upper house, or Senate, where parties can propose amendments that would require a final vote in the lower house next month.

The Senate vote will be the last if no new amendments are introduced, and the plan will become the second consecutive budget approved by the minority coalition government that came to power in January 2020.

Many analysts believe that the plan will be a litmus test to see how long the Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's coalition with the hard-left Unidas Podemos can last. Sanchez has always said he can govern the full four-year term.

The Spanish economy rebounded back after a record plunge of 10.8% last year, although at a slower pace than expected. There are high inflation and global trade bottlenecks that cloud projections, and recovery hopes are set for 2022.

The European Commission expects that Spain will grow 5.5% in 2022, compared to previous 6.3%, but the government has so far stuck to its upbeat forecast of 7% growth next year.