After weeks of four months of political deadlock, Pedro Sánchez has been re-elected as Spanish Prime Minister after a tight vote in the Spanish parliament.
Despite only having 121 MPs in the 350-seat chamber, he was able to win support to form a new government after his Socialist Party signed a coalition deal with Catalan and separatist parties.
Sánchez gained an absolute majority with 179 votes in favour to 171 against, made up of his Socialist PSOE 121 MPs, 31 MPs from the left-wing Sumar alliance (with whom he will form a coalition government), six MPs of the left-wing Basque party EH Bildu, five from right-wing Basque Nationalists (EAJ-PNV), and 7 votes each from the Catalan pro-independence parties Esquerra Republicana (ERC) and Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), as well as the one vote each from the Galician Nationalist party (BNG) and the Canary Islands Coalition.
Sánchez’s win in parliament concludes a period of political upheaval that kicked off in the regional elections in May, when the Socialist leader called snap elections after his party suffered heavy losses.
Calling the election Sánchez said that Spaniards needed to “clarify which political forces they want to take the lead” and that it was time to let electors “define the country’s political direction.”
However, it was the right-wing People’s Party (PP) led by Alberto Núñez Feijóo, who won the most votes – though far less than predicted.
Feijóo failed to garner support to form a government in September leaving the road open to Sanchez to try and form a minority administration.
The key to the deal came in a general amnesty to the Catalan politicians and civil servants who have been facing sedition charges over the failed referendum in 2016.
The amnesty law, if and when it is finally passed, would include former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who is in self-imposed exile in Brussels and currently still sought by Spanish Justice.
Sanchez´s deal has led to a furious right wing backlash with demonstrations taking place across Spain organised by the Partido Popular and supported by far right Vox party.
Some 1 million people are expected on the streets of Madrid today, Saturday 18th November calling for new elections.