Spanish Lawmakers Vote To Restrict Debt

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MADRID, Sept. 2 (UPI) — The lower chamber of Spain’s Parliament approved a constitutional amendment that would restrict future budget deficits and public debt Friday.

Spanish deputies approved the change by a 316-5 vote, with leftist and most regional nationalist parties either not voting or walking out, the Financial Times reported.

“Not doing this would lead to clear and serious risks,” Jose Blanco, public works minister and government spokesman, said after the vote. “That’s why it was done with such speed and urgency.”

Blanco said the amendment provided a guarantee to investors that Spain would meet its financial obligations and would signal to citizens that public funding would be available.

The constitutional change will be debated by the Senate next Wednesday,

Mariano Rajoy, a Popular Party leader, said the reform would be “very good for confidence in Spain.”

Spanish and Italian bond prices fell in early August, prompting intervention by the European Central Bank. The ECB told the Spanish and Italian governments that the bank’s purchases of the countries’ bonds on the secondary market were conditioned on reforms to ensure budgetary stability.

Spain is eager to prove to investors in the eurozone sovereign bond markets that it is creditworthy and has its public finances under control.

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