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Spain Socialist leader loses 1st bid to form government

3 March 2016 15:58



The leader of Spain’s Socialist Party, Pedro Sanchez, has lost his first bid to establish a government after failing to secure enough votes needed in parliament.

The Socialists were in need of an absolute majority in the Wednesday vote in the 350-seat lower house of parliament. However, they ended up with 219 votes against Sanchez, 130 in favor and one abstention.

The conservative Popular Party (PP), led by acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and the far-left Podemos Party voted against Sanchez becoming prime minister.

The 44-year-old career politician now should try once again on Friday in a vote in which he would only need a simple majority.

Wednesday’s defeat for Sanchez came after a December 20 election that shattered Spain’s traditional two-party system. The PP won the first place in the vote but lost its absolute majority, garnering 123 seats.

Rajoy could not form a government over failure to get support from the other parties that were tired from years of crisis and corruption scandals plaguing his grouping.

His fruitless efforts forced King Felipe VI to ask Sanchez, whose party came second in the December election, to form a government.

Following weeks of negotiations, Sanchez managed to cut a deal a deal with new market-friendly party Ciudadanos which has 40 seats in the parliament.

In case the socialist leader fails the second vote, the diverging parties has only two months starting from Wednesday to once again try to come to an agreement to govern Spain.

If they cannot reach an agreement, a new vote will be called, most likely on June 26.

This would extend the political impasse in Spain which has just emerged from a severe economic crisis.

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