Sánchez voted in as Spain's Prime Minister for next four years

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Sánchez voted in as Spain's Prime Minister for next four years
Pedro Sánchez will continue to be Prime Minister of Spain four the next for years. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

Socialist Pedro Sánchez was re-elected Thursday as Spain's prime minister with the support of 179 lawmakers in the 350-seat parliament.


Four months after Spain's general elections, the leader of the PSOE, Pedro Sánchez, has been voted in again as Prime Minister.


The support of two Catalan separatist parties, which demanded a controversial amnesty deal in exchange for their votes, was key to allow Sánchez to win the confidence vote.

All in all, Sánchez, in office since 2018, gained an absolute majority thanks to the 179 votes of PSOE, Sumar, ERC, Junts, EH Bildu, PNV, BNG and CC.

171 Members of Parliament voted against, mainly from Spain's centre-right PP and far-right Vox, and there were no abstentions. 



His Socialist party finished second in an inconclusive July general election but he reached deals with several smaller parties to back re-establishing his minority coalition government with hard-left party Sumar.

Among the beneficiaries of Sánchez's re-election is Carles Puigdemont, who headed the regional government of Catalonia when it staged a failed secession bid in 2017.

Puigdemont organised a referendum that was banned by the central government, followed by a short-lived declaration of independence that sparked Spain's worst political crisis in decades.

Puigdemont fled to Belgium to avoid prosecution. An amnesty would allow him to return to Spain, while many Spaniards consider him an enemy of the state.

RECAP: Spain's controversial Catalan amnesty deal in four key points

Sánchez, who has made a career out of making political gambles, defended the amnesty during the parliamentary debate, arguing it was constitutional and needed to "heal the wounds" opened by the wealthy northeastern region's independence push.

"We will guarantee the unity of Spain through dialogue and forgiveness," the 51-year-old added.

Sánchez (Down-R) is greeted by fellow MPs after speaking during a parliamentary debate ahead of a vote to elect Spain's next premier. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)


'Political corruption'

Critics argue the amnesty is a self-serving measure to allow Sánchez to remain in power and accuse him of trampling on the rule of law.

"Adopting measures that go against the general interest in exchange of personal benefit is political corruption," the leader of the conservative Popular Party (PP), Alberto Núñez Feijóo, said during the debate.

The PP won most seats in the July election but fell short of a majority and Feijóo was unable to get support from other parties to win his investiture vote in September.

The leader of the far-right Vox party, Santiago Abascal has called the amnesty deal a "coup d'etat".

Several polls show over half of all Spaniards oppose the amnesty, that has prompted a wave of nationwide protests.


Hundreds of thousands of people took part Sunday in different protests, answering a PP call to take to the streets.

Thousands have congregated each night for over a week outside the Socialist party's headquarters in Madrid in rallies organised by the far right. Some protests have turned violent.

Fifteen people were arrested at the protest on Wednesday night following scuffles with police.


No 'blank cheque'

In a sign of the tensions, over 1,600 police were deployed on Wednesday and Thursday for the parliamentary debate, according to the interior ministry.

Sánchez - one of Europe's longest serving Socialist leaders - also outlined some of his economic plans for his new term on Wednesday.

These include making public transport free for young people and the unemployed, and continuing to link pension hikes to inflation.

But he will likely struggle to pass legislation since the various leftist and regional parties slated to back him on Thursday have radically different ideologies.

A spokeswoman for leftist Basque independence party Bildu, Mertxe Aizpurua, warned Thursday that her party's yes vote for Sánchez would not be a "blank cheque".

Feijóo, the leader of the PP, said Sánchez will have to negotiate support for each bill he seeks to pass and will not really be "in control" of the government.



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