Spain’s parliament has backed Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez’s bid to form a new government, electing him as the prime minister. Sánchez will now form an administration with the Sumar coalition, which is also far-left.
The parliament of Spain remained incredibly split upon Sánchez’s voting. Of the 350-seat parliament, all far-left, left-wing, and separatist groups voted to back Sánchez. Meanwhile, all center-right, far-right, and conservative groups voted against him. The final vote to elect Sánchez as prime minister was 179-171, indicating just how fractured the parliament remains.
Sánchez’s position as prime minister comes amid months-long issues in Spain politics. After suffering significant losses in polls back in May, Sánchez called snap elections. However, voters then elected a hung parliament which saw left-wing and right-wing political blocs fall short of a majority.
Spain's parliament has voted to give Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez a new term in office, after securing an alliance of political backers with an amnesty bill for Catalan separatists that has sparked protests across the country https://t.co/IXGXhP7vfI pic.twitter.com/HhoOHGUCUb
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 16, 2023
In what became a controversial move, Sánchez reached out to receive the backing of the Catalan separatist Junts party. In order to gain a majority, his party needed their votes.
This led Sánchez to work out a deal with the exiled former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont. After the failed 2017 Catalan independence referendum, and in the years before and after, many have been prosecuted for their separatist actions. Sánchez agreed to a deal with Puigdemont that allowed pardons to those prosecuted for these actions in the past decade.
This move allowed all seven lawmakers of the Junts party to back Sánchez as the new prime minister. Though they had the power to hold new elections, they instead voted in his favor. The only representative of the Canarian Coalition also backed Sánchez.
Many Spaniards, however, protested against Sánchez’s use of blanket amnesty, especially because Sánchez himself previously said it would go against Spain’s constitution. As a result, many publicly protested against his moves by taking to the streets of Spain.
Center-right Popular Party leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo even accused Sánchez of making deals “that are against the general interest” of Spain. He said Sánchez was only motivated by his “personal benefit.”
Feijóo also believes that this blanket amnesty will only revive the Catalan independence movement. This separatist movement could challenge Spain as a whole.
Sánchez rejects these accusations of “political corruption.” Instead, he said that he believes Spain will be unified once again, though only through “dialogue and forgiveness.”
Sánchez will be sworn in on Friday by King Felipe VI.