Sanchez hopes to secure coalition with Podemos ahead of investiture vote

Spain’s acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez laid out his government plans to parliament on Monday, as Spanish lawmakers prepare to vote on Tuesday on Sanchez’s leadership. The investiture debate closed on Monday without any agreement.

“This is what I will be doing in the coming days: request your confidence, appeal to your responsibility and generosity … so that Spain has a government,” Sanchez told deputies.

Employment, gender equality and fighting climate change would be his main priorities, he said.

Sanchez has only been the country’s leader in an acting capacity since April after failing to win a majority in the Spanish general election. He first became prime minister of a minority government in June last year when parliament voted out a conservative government over a corruption scandal.

If he receives the support of 176 members of parliament he will be confirmed as prime minister with an absolute majority.

However, if he doesn’t, lawmakers will vote again 48 hours after the initial vote and he’ll need to be confirmed with a simple majority.

The last poll from Spain’s College for International Studies (CIS) gave the socialists a voting intention close to 40%, which got really close to an absolute majority.

But if this fails again, King Felipe VI may have to stand in and propose new candidates. This, however, isn’t likely, it’s more accepted that the King will dissolve both chambers and will call new elections with the endorsement of the President of the Congress.

In which case, Spaniards could be heading back to the polls on November 10th.

Coalition with Podemos?

To avoid this from happening, the socialist leader has been negotiating to form a coalition government with the left-wing Podemos party after its leader Pablo Iglesias accepted to not seek a role in cabinet.

The first challenge is to sign a coalition agreement between Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE) and Podemos. Both parties still need to agree on a government pact and who will be in cabinet.

But even if they form a coalition, they will be short of a parliamentary majority, which means they will need the support of smaller parties, raising the question of how much the new government would be able to achieve.

With the 123 MPs and the 42 from Podemos and its partnered parties (En Común and En Comú Podem), Sanchez would also require the support or abstention of sovereignist parties such as Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), who have 15 MPs and the Basque nationalist party Euskal Herria Bildu (4).

This way, the left would be able to overcome the right-wing bloc formed by the People’s Party, Ciudadanos, and Vox, which counts with 147 votes. Not to add the two votes from the Canarian Coalition and another two from the Navarrese People’s Union.

A coalition with Podemos would mean the left-wing bloc would get 165 votes, outperforming the 151 from the right-wing bloc.

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