Spanish Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez failed the first attempt to get parliament’s backing to form a government.
As expected, Sánchez’s bid did not prosper at that first vote, given that he required an absolute majority of 176 votes in the 350-seat chamber. In the end, 166 deputies voted in favor, 165 against, with 18 abstentions.
There are two days left for Sanchez to secure support to end an eight-month political gridlock.
Elections in April and November did not produce a conclusive result, needed an absolute majority of at least 176 votes in his favour in the 350-seat house to be confirmed in the job.
The coalition government proposed by Sánchez was put to a first vote on Sunday, after two days of debate in Congress during which opposition parties responded to the policies and plans set out by both the caretaker prime minister and the leader of Unidas Podemos, Pablo Iglesias.
On Tuesday, Sanchez will only need a simple majority – more “yes” than “no” votes. He is likely to get that after securing a commitment from the 13 lawmakers of Catalonia’s largest separatist party, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), to abstain.
Amongst the commitments done by the Sanchez, there are that Spain will not break up; there will be dialogue to deal with the “political conflict” with Catalonia, without straying beyond the confines of the Spanish Constitution; and a coalition government made up of the Socialist Party (PSOE) and Unidas Podemos will implement reformist policies that will cast aside measures from previous administrations with regard to the economy, employment and personal freedoms.
Via El Pais