Spanish leader seeks OK for left-wing coalition government

MADRID (AP) — Spain’s interim Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has two opportunities to win the endorsement of the Spanish Parliament to form a left-wing coalition government.

Sánchez is proposing a coalition government of his Socialist Party and the anti-austerity United We Can party.

It would be Spain’s first coalition government since the return of democracy following the death of dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975.

Sánchez is expected to fail on his first vote in Parliament, when his centre-left Socialists and United We Can do not appear to have enough support of other parties to clinch an absolute majority of 176 votes.

But Sánchez’s party and would-be partners believe they have the enough votes to get the required simple majority in a second vote tomorrow to put Sánchez back in the Moncloa Palace, Spain’s seat of government.

Spain’s caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrives at the Spanish Parliament in Madrid, Spain yesterday. PHOTO: AP

Spain’s three right-wing parties have already said their lawmakers would vote against the left-wing government.

So Sánchez’s hopes of success will depend on the support of several smaller parties, including separatists in Catalonia and the Basque Country.

Sánchez has been leading a caretaker government in Spain for almost a year.

Sánchez became prime minister in 2018 after leading a push to oust Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government, which was beset by corruption scandals.

He kept a minority government afloat until he failed to get a national budget passed early last year and called an early election.

The Socialists received the most support of any party in last April’s vote but failed to strike a deal with United We Can.

Sánchez was forced to call a second election last November that barely changed the distribution of power in parliament.