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Spain's Sanchez loses first of two chances to return as PM

Spain's Sanchez loses first of two chances to return as PM

Spain's interim prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, failed on Sunday to win the support of the country's parliament to form a left-wing coalition government.

Sanchez fell ten short of the 176 votes needed to secure an absolute majority in the 350-seat assembly, receiving just 166 in favor, 165 against and 18 abstentions. One lawmaker did not attend the vote.

Sanchez will have a second chance on Tuesday, when the bar for success will be lowered to a simple majority, and will only need more votes in favor of his reelection than against.

Spain has been without a proper government for most of the past year after two inconclusive elections in April and November.

Read more: Spain elections: Socialists lead, while far-right Vox surges

Tight vote

Sanchez's center-left Socialists won the repeat November 10 polls but were weakened, taking 120 seats — three fewer than in April.

He struck a deal with hard-left party Podemos, which won 35 seats, to form what would be the first post-dictatorship coalition government in Spain.

The two parties' combined total of 155 seats, however, still fell short of a majority, prompting Sanchez to reach out and secure the support or abstention of several smaller regional parties, including the Catalan separatist party Esquerra Republicana de Cataluny (ERC).

In a sign of how close Tuesday's race could be, a member from regional party Coalicion Canaria, Ana Oramas, voted against Sanchez instead of abstaining as her party had agreed.

Read more: Spain: Sanchez, Casado clash on Catalonia during TV debate

kw/stb (AP, AFP)

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Updated : 2021-06-25 05:25 GMT+08:00