The socialist leader Pedro Sánchez was re-elected this Thursday as president of the Spanish Government at the head of a coalition with left-wing and pro-independence parties, in a country deeply divided by its commitment to granting an amnesty law to Catalan pro-independence supporters in exchange for their support in this investiture.
Sánchez obtained 179 votes in favor in the Congress of Deputies, three more than the absolute majority, and 171 against, announced the president of the Chamber, the socialist Francina Armengol, after an intense investiture debate, where Criticism and warnings intensified.
“I declare that the confidence of Congress has been granted to Mr. Pedro Sánchez,” Armengol announced after the vote, on the second and last day of the special investiture session, the AFP news agency reported.
In power since 2018, Sánchez, 51, The votes of those 179 deputies were guaranteed thanks to alliances which for weeks he wove with other groups with representation in Parliament.
I want to address all the groups that will give me their support today to renew as president and form a new coalition government.
To the 179 deputies who have committed their vote and who represent more than 12.6 million citizens who on July 23… pic.twitter.com/pzjHRB51QK
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) November 16, 2023
Sánchez will swear or promise his position before King Felipe VI in a ceremony that will be held at the Zarzuela Palace this Friday at 10 a.m. (6 a.m. in Argentina), the Royal Family reported.
Thus, The current acting president will return to office on Friday with all the powerswhich were put on hold when, hours after losing the regional and municipal elections on May 28, the decision was made to dissolve the Legislature and call early elections for July 23, to “submit our mandate to the popular will.”
The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) came second in those July elections, behind the opposition and right-wing Popular Party (PP) of Alberto Núñez Feijóo, who was commissioned to form a Government before Sánchez, but was not able to gather a majority in The deputies congress. His alliance with the far-right party Vox was not enough to reach the investiture and was refractory to closing agreements with other forces.
In recent weeks, Sánchez negotiated until he sealed agreements with several regionalist groups of Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country, whose support was crucial in the absence of a clear majority in Parliament.
But The most transcendental was the one he achieved with the Catalans of Esquerra Republicana (ERC) and, above all, with Junts but Catalunya (Junts)for which the PSOE had to openly negotiate with former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who has lived in Belgium for six years to avoid prosecution for leading a failed attempt to secede from Catalonia in 2017.
Puigdemont agreed, after intense negotiations, to support Sánchez’s re-election, and in exchange he obtained from the socialists the commitment to the upcoming approval of an amnesty law for hundreds of prosecuted pro-independence supporterswhich should allow him to return to Spain.
When presenting the priorities of his new legislature to the deputies on Wednesday, Sánchez defended the necessity and constitutionality of this agreement with the Junts party, despite the fact that he had opposed the amnesty in the past.
This It is necessary to “close the wounds” opened by the 2017 crisisstated the President of the Government, ensuring that he wants to guarantee “the unity of Spain through dialogue and forgiveness.”
Of all, on Wednesday the spokesperson for Junts in Congress, Miriam Nogueras, warned during the investiture debate that her party would vote in favor of Sánchez, but will not support any initiative if there is no progress on what was agreed between both forces last week .
Noguera also confirmed that Junts continues to support the independence of Catalonia. “I’m telling you now, because you have time to give up,” warned the Catalan independence legislator, but the PSOE leader did not give up.
Sánchez announced a series of measures aimed at the popular sectorsamong them the reduction in VAT on food until June 2024 and free public transport, as of January 1, for all minors and young people and for unemployed people.
Likewise, he promised to allocate 10 euros to the fight against sexist violence for every euro that a municipal autonomous government withdraws from what is destined for its prevention and elimination.
In addition to the amnesty for Catalan independentists involved in the secessionist attempt in Catalonia in 2017, SÁnchez wants to promote “a new financing model” that reinforces autonomy of the Spanish regions.
This delicate political commitment will result in the cancellation of a part of the regions’ debt with the central State, starting with 15,000 million euros of the Catalan government’s debt.
Regarding the international positioning of Spain, The head of the government assured that he will maintain his support for Ukraine “until the last Russian soldier leaves a country that wants to be free and European.”
Besides, He promised to work “so that Europe, and of course, Spain” recognizes the Palestinian Stateby virtue of a non-binding resolution adopted in 2014 by the Spanish Congress and which had come to nothing.
The PP accuses Sánchez of having agreed to the amnesty with the sole objective of staying in power at all costs, and says that the agreement puts the territorial integrity of Spain at risk.
Rejected by the majority of Spaniards, according to several opinion polls, This amnesty led hundreds of thousands of people to take to the streets on Sunday in response to a call from the PP.
A new demonstration is planned for Saturday in Madridin which leaders of the PP and Vox will participate.
On Wednesday night, 15 people were arrested for disturbing public order and confronting the police, according to the Government Delegation in Madrid.
As a consequence of these tensions, more than 1,600 police officers were deployed again on Thursday around the Congress of Deputies, completely cordoned off since Wednesday by law enforcement forces.
In this context, Sánchez asked the opposition on Wednesday to be “responsible” and not take advantage of the situation to create tension in the streets.
The post first appeared on www.telam.com.ar