After two general elections and months of negotiation, Pedro Sánchez finally managed to win enough support in Spain’s parliament to be elected Prime Minister of Spain. He will be the President of Spain’s first coalition government since the 1930s.
The Socialists failed to come to an agreement with the second-largest party of the left, Unidas Podemos, following the April election; but when both parties lost votes in the second election in November, they rapidly announced a pact. However, this coalition would also require the support, or at least the abstention, of the ERC (Catalan Republican Left).
This put Sánchez in a difficult position. The ERC’s leader, Oriol Junqueras, is serving a 13-year prison sentence for sedition after calling the illegal Catalan referendum of 2017 and declaring independence unilaterally. Sánchez has supported these trials and sentences, which have been widely criticized overseas.
After discussion, the ERC agreed to abstain. Sánchez lost the first vote, which required a majority of all representatives, but narrowly won the second vote, which only requires a majority of those who vote. Abstentions by the ERC and the Basque Bildu party gave Sánchez this majority.
As a result, Spain is currently being ruled by a minority coalition government. However, tensions are high, and opposition right-wing parties have cranked up the atmosphere of anger and disrespect, furious at the formation of a government they have accused of handing Spain over to terrorists.
Canary Rebel Fined
Ana Oramas, the only member of the Coalición Canaria in the Spanish parliament, was fined €1,000 by her party last month after failing to follow its instructions and abstain from voting during the investiture of Pedro Sánchez.
Oramas voted against the investiture on the grounds that the Socialist party’s pact with the ERC would “end the rule of law as we know it”, and that the Socialists were pacting with “those who wish to destroy Spain.”
Despite Oramas’s vote, Sánchez achieved the 167 votes necessary to rule as President of Spain’s first coalition government since the 1930s.