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'Feijóo's bid is doomed': Spain's Socialists confident of staying in power

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
'Feijóo's bid is doomed': Spain's Socialists confident of staying in power
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez smiles flanked by members of his cabinet, Spain's Minister of Universities Joan Subirats Humet (L), Spain's Minister of Education Pilar Alegria (2L), Spain's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge Teresa Ribera (2R) and Spain's Minister of Justice Pilar Llop. (Photo by DESIREE MARTIN / AFP)

Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's Socialists said Wednesday they were confident of staying in power following July's inconclusive election, dismissing as "doomed" the conservative Popular Party's bid to form a government.

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King Felipe VI last week nominated Popular Party (PP) leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo to try to form a new government ahead of a parliamentary investiture vote on September 27th, even though he lacks support within the 350-seat assembly.

The PP won the vote with 137 seats and can count on the support of 33 lawmakers from far-right Vox as well as two votes from two small regional parties.

In total, that would give a PP-led coalition 172 votes -- four short of a governing majority.

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"Feijóo's investiture is doomed to failure," Socialist party spokeswoman Pilar Alegría told reporters following a meeting between Sánchez and Feijóo.

"And once it fails... we will get an investiture that will bring stability to our country," she added.

If the PP fails to form a government, the king must pick a new candidate - most likely Sánchez, whose party finished second.

If no candidate secures a majority within two months of the first investiture vote, new elections have to be called, probably in January.

Sánchez currently has the support of 164 lawmakers - the 121 of his Socialist party, 31 from far-left formation Sumar, 11 from two Basque parties, and from the sole lawmaker of a small Galician party.

He is negotiating the support of two Catalan pro-independence parties which, if successful, would give him the backing of 178 lawmakers.

But the Catalan separatists have set the bar high for their support, demanding a referendum on Catalan independence and an amnesty for hundreds of people facing legal action for their role in a failed 2017 secession bid in the wealthy northeastern region.

During their talks on Wednesday, Feijóo asked Sánchez to be allowed to govern on his own for a two-year term during which the PP and the Socialists could work together to pass major bipartisan legislation on important issues.

The Socialist leader rejected the proposal, prompting Feijóo to tell a news conference that "Sánchez prefers to ally himself with separatists".

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