Spain will begin the New Year with a coalition government after Parliament voted for the return of the socialist caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
The vote brings and end to months of political uncertainty for the country and follows two recent general elections last year with one in April and the most recent in November.
Although Sánchez' PSOE won 120 seats in the November election, it was fewer than they managed in April's election and not enough to secure a majority. Spain's political landscape was fragmented further after the far-right Vox party ended up the third biggest party in the country.
With the backing of the far-left Podemos party led by Pablo Iglesias, Sánchez will now look to move the country forward with what will be the country's first coalition government since democracy was reinstated in 1978 following the Franco dictatorship.
Sánchez obtained a simple majority of 167 to 165 in his favour, thanks in part to abstentions by the left-leaning Catalan and Basque nationalist MPs.
However, passing any future legislation may prove difficult for the new government as the PSOE will only have 120 seats along with the 35 of Podemos out of the 350-seat Parliament.
Before the vote, Sánchez addressed MPs warning them that his coalition government was the only way in which to end the deadlock, saying that it was a case of "Either a progressive coalition, or more deadlock for Spain".
It is thought that Mr Sánchez struck a deal with the 13 MPs from the Catalan seperatist party the ERC and the Basque party, Bildu in exchange for an agreement to open a formal dialogue on the future of Catalonia. The outcome of any dialogue would then be put to Catalan voters.
The new government will look to increase taxes for those earning more than €130,000 and restore previous labour market reforms after recent changes were brought in to make it easier to fire them.
Sánchez is expected to be sworn in early next week when he will also appoint his new cabinet.
Image Credit: European Parliament on Flickr.
January 17, 2020