Anti-austerity demonstrators extended their protests into the night as lawmakers prepared to push through additional budget cuts and economic changes that Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy hoped would enable Spain to avoid conditions imposed on a possible bank bailout.
Reuters reported Thursday that as the Spanish cabinet gathered to approve the measures, expected to be announced later in the day, Rajoy was stalling on requesting aid for Spanish banks in the hope that the new measures would forestall any insistence on conditions that might otherwise be attached to the money. His government has been negotiating with Brussels on a new round of bond buying aimed at controlling soaring interest rates that have hit not just Spain but Italy as well.
On Wednesday night, demonstrators were demanding Rajoy’s resignation. His popularity and that of his government have sunk with each new accession to budgetary cuts and other requirements imposed in the hope of controlling Spain’s rising borrowing costs.