Pedro Sánchez loses first bid to be confirmed as Spanish PM

Socialist leader works on deal with Podemos to reach simple majority in vote on Thursday

 Socialist Party candidate and acting Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez speaks during the first-round investiture vote in Madrid on Tuesday. Photograph:  Emilio Naranjo/EPA

Socialist Party candidate and acting Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez speaks during the first-round investiture vote in Madrid on Tuesday. Photograph: Emilio Naranjo/EPA

 

Spain’s Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez failed on Tuesday in a first attempt to get parliament’s backing to form a government, leaving him two days to try to strike a deal with the far-left Podemos ahead of a second vote.

Mr Sánchez won the most seats in an election in April but fell short of an absolute majority, requiring him the support of other parties to be confirmed as prime minister.

He lost Tuesday’s vote by 124 votes to 170, with 52 abstentions. He would have needed a full majority of at least 176 votes to be confirmed as prime minister.

On Thursday he will only need a simple majority – more Yes than No votes – and much can change until then.

All will depend on whether the Socialists and Podemos set aside their differences to strike a deal and also get support from smaller, regional parties.

Relations have been tense over the past few days with Podemos, but both sides have said they want to keep negotiating to try and hammer out a coalition government deal.

Considering how difficult talks have been over the past three months, and tense exchanges between Mr Sánchez and Podemos leader Pablos Iglesias in a parliament debate late on Monday, it remains to be seen how stable and united such a government would be.

Sources in Podemos and the Socialist party said that the main question was what role Podemos ministers would have.

If Mr Sánchez is not confirmed as prime minister on Thursday, further votes could be held in September. If that failed too, a repeat election would be held on November 10th. – Reuters