Pedro Sánchez’s hopes of securing another term as Spain’s prime minister have received a significant boost after his Socialist Workers’ party (PSOE) secured the support of Catalan nationalists to help it win the first key parliamentary vote since last month’s inconclusive general election.
The Socialist candidate for speaker of the Spanish parliament, Francina Armengol, 52, was elected with an absolute majority of 178 votes in the 350-seat lower house.
Her election was secured following a last-minute deal with the Catalan pro-independence party Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), who, along with other regional nationalist parties are seen as kingmakers in Sánchez´s bid to form a minority government following the inconclusive general election result.
Francina Armengol winning the vote for speakerThe result produced a near tie between the left and right wing blocks with neither the PSOE nor the conservative Partido Popular receiving enough votes to secure a majority in the 350-seat Congress of Deputies.
Armengol, who was regional president of the Balearic Islands from 2015 to 2023, was supported by the Socialist PSOE, Sumar in addition to the 14 votes from the two regional separatist parties including the Catalan Junts led by fugitive politician Carles Puigdemont, who is in self-imposed exile in Brussels after fleeing Spain following his unsuccessful 2017 secession bid.
Puigdemont, who is also an MEP, had demanded solid guarantees before offering his party’s support to Spain’s next government.
‘We have no confidence in Spanish political parties,’ he wrote on X. ‘We cannot move forward on the basis of promises made by those who always fail to keep them, so we need to see solid guarantees before committing to vote.’
The defeat of the Popular Party´s candidate for speaker who secured just 139 votes highlights their isolation in the chamber with only the far-right Vox as possible government coalition partners.
In the end, not even Vox voted for the PP candidate on Thursday, indicating a serious rift between the two right wing parties.