After extensive negotiations, Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez successfully secured a parliamentary vote, securing his position as Spain’s prime minister for another term. The four-seat majority in the 350-seat chamber was achieved following an amnesty deal for Catalans involved in a failed secession attempt.
Addressing MPs, Sánchez emphasized that the amnesty deal aimed to “heal wounds.” However, the reliance on two Catalan pro-independence parties to form a majority has sparked criticism from opponents. They argue that the proposed amnesty deal for numerous politicians and activists may fuel another secession bid, posing a threat to Spain’s territorial unity.
Socialist MPs applauded Sánchez for several minutes upon the confirmation of the vote results. Nevertheless, protesters booed MPs as they left the Spanish Congress building. Tens of thousands of Spaniards participated in nationwide protests over the weekend, with opposition leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo accusing the prime minister of prioritizing personal interests over the country’s.
While Sánchez and Feijóo exchanged a handshake after the vote, Feijóo later told reporters that he had warned Sánchez against his actions, holding him responsible for the consequences. Feijóo argued that the Socialists were swayed by those seeking recognition for a nation separate from Spain and advocating for a self-determination referendum.
In a pre-vote statement, Sánchez linked challenges to the legitimacy of his government to a broader global trend. He pointed to the presence of former Fox News TV anchor Tucker Carlson at a recent protest outside the Socialist Party headquarters in Madrid, citing similar trends in the United States and Brazil.
The political atmosphere remained tense, with several Socialist MPs facing aggression, including having eggs thrown at them. In light of this, delegates were advised to prioritize personal safety due to the heightened political tensions.
Buses chartered by the right-wing Catholic organization Hazte Oír passed the congress building, displaying anti-Sánchez messages. One bus featured an image of Sánchez resembling Adolf Hitler, accompanied by the slogan: “Sánchez dictator.”
Ione Belarra, a member of the Podemos party within the Sumar left-wing alliance, which is part of the newly-formed ruling coalition, hinted at the fragility of the government. Despite their alliance, Podemos has not been extended invitations to oversee any ministries in the new government. Belarra expressed dissatisfaction, stating, “The Socialist Party prefers a compliant left, one that aligns with their desires.”