Spanish Protest Shows Sanchez Holds Upper Hand Ahead of Votes

Even Spain’s center-right opposition leader, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, doesn’t seem to think he’ll garner enough votes in parliament next week to allow him to become prime minister and oust Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez.

(Bloomberg) — Even Spain’s center-right opposition leader, Alberto Nunez Feijoo, doesn’t seem to think he’ll garner enough votes in parliament next week to allow him to become prime minister and oust Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez.

Feijoo’s People’s Party will hold a protest over the weekend against Sanchez’s plan for a new term — even though Feijoo himself is due to ask lawmakers to support his plans to govern in a debate starting Sept. 26. 

The PP leader is widely expected to lose the so-called investiture vote. If that comes to pass, Sanchez will then have two months to rally enough support before a new election is called.

Sanchez said earlier this week while in New York that Feijoo and his party “seem to be expecting his investiture to be a failure.” 

The Socialist leader added that if invited by the king — as is protocol in Spain — he would try to form a government. “Then, I will speak with complete frankness, with total transparency about the master-plan for a hypothetical Socialist government,” he said. 

Sanchez, who is currently the caretaker prime minister, is five seats short of a majority and would need the support of a Catalan secessionist group. That party, called Junts per Catalunya, has demanded an amnesty law in exchange for their votes for people facing legal issues over a failed independence bid in 2017. 

The People’s Party demonstration this weekend is meant to protest against those plans. The issue of Catalan secession is a flash point in Spain, particularly for the political right. 

When announcing the protest, Cuca Gamarra, the PP’s secretary general, said it was a demonstration to “defend equality among all Spaniards.” Feijoo went a step further in a post on X and said an amnesty would be an “unjust and immoral attack against laws and the division of powers.” 

Feijoo won a clear plurality in a national election in July but without enough support to form a parliamentary majority. The main reason he is standing up for the vote is that he had repeatedly said trying was the responsible thing to do.

Sanchez has been careful not to announce his own plans to try to govern, saying he must respect the electoral processes — he and his supporters have avoided talking about a possible amnesty law. But he has said that if he has a chance he wants to stay in the job.

Sanchez has said that he will try to continue “normalizing” the situation in Catalonia and that a political problem should never have ended in courts. Since becoming prime minister in 2018, Sanchez pardoned a group of 9 convicted separatist leaders and then pushed through a reform of certain criminal laws governing malfeasance and sedition, thereby helping them avoid sentencing.

 

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