Spain’s acting Socialist prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has been reelected by a majority of legislators in a parliamentary vote on Thursday. This victory will allow him to form a new minority leftist coalition government.
In the 350-seat lower house of parliament, Sánchez garnered support from 179 lawmakers, with the only opposition coming from right-wing deputies.
The parliamentary vote came after nearly two days of debate among party leaders. The focus of the discussions revolved around a highly controversial amnesty deal for Catalonia’s separatists, which Sánchez agreed to in order to secure vital support for his reelection as prime minister.
Sánchez’s victory was made possible by gaining the support of six smaller parties, including two Catalan separatist parties, in the past few weeks. This support has given him the majority of lawmakers needed for his reelection and the formation of another minority coalition government with the left-wing Sumar (Joining Forces) party.
The July 23 national elections in Spain resulted in a highly divided parliament. Although the center-right Popular Party received the most votes, it failed to gain enough support to form a government due to its alliances with the far-right Vox party, which finished third.
Meanwhile, the Socialists finished second with 121 seats. The question remains whether Sánchez will be able to maintain sufficient support throughout the next four years.
Amnesty Deal Reached for Catalan Separatists
The amnesty deal signed by Sánchez’s Socialists with two prominent Catalan separatist parties marks a significant development in resolving the legal troubles facing hundreds of Catalan separatists. This move comes after the region’s illegal 2017 secession bid, which plunged Spain into a major crisis.
Under the proposed amnesty law, former Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont, currently a fugitive from Spanish law and considered a public enemy, would also benefit. Nonetheless, while there are still some lingering disagreements, both Catalan parties, along with two Basque ones, have pledged their support to Sánchez. However, they have made it clear that he must uphold the economic and political agreements made with each party.
The two Basque parties emphasized that their support is crucial for maintaining a progressive government in power and preventing the right-wing from assuming office.
It is worth noting that Spain’s judiciary has expressed its criticism of the proposed amnesty, and the European Union is currently reviewing the matter.
The announcement of the amnesty proposal has led to street protests, primarily supported by the Popular Party and Vox. These critics accuse Sánchez of betraying the nation in order to cling onto power. Unfortunate incidents occurred during protests outside the Socialist party’s headquarters in Madrid last week and on Wednesday night.
Regarding these allegations, Sánchez defended the agreements, stating, “The only real reproach that the right makes against us is that with these agreements we will have won the government. Which is what is going to happen today.”
Following the vote, the speaker of the house will inform King Felipe VI about the outcome. Once published in the State Gazette, Sánchez is expected to be sworn in as the new prime minister before the king, potentially on Friday.