The Spanish Parliament has re-elected acting Prime Minister Sánchez as head of government. However, the majority for the Social Democrats is linked to an amnesty for Catalan separatists.
The Social Democrat Pedro Sánchez has been confirmed as Prime Minister in Spain for another four years. Almost four months after the new parliamentary elections, the lower house in Madrid voted 179 to 171 for a continuation of the left-wing government.
The 51-year-old politician from the Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) has been ruling the EU’s fourth-largest economy with minority governments since mid-2018.
Controversial amnesty law
The decisive factor for Sánchez’s re-election was the support of two Catalan parties, to which he promised an amnesty law for Catalan independence supporters.
The parliamentary session that began on Wednesday was extremely tense. The Conservatives (PP) and the extreme right-wing party Vox accuse Sánchez of breaking the law because of the promised amnesty law. For weeks, tens of thousands of right-wing supporters have been taking to the streets across the country in protest.
PP leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo won the early parliamentary elections on July 23, but did not achieve a majority for himself as head of government. Sánchez, on the other hand, was able to organize a majority for himself together with the left-wing Sumar alliance and the Catalan and Basque regional parties as well as a few other MPs.
Puigdemont could return from exile
The amnesty is intended to particularly benefit those activists who were persecuted by the Spanish justice system after Catalonia’s failed secession from Spain in 2017. Former Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont, who could return to Spain after years in exile, would also benefit from this.
In view of the massive protests, the police in Madrid had increased their presence: In Madrid, yesterday and today, more than 1,600 police officers were stationed around the completely sealed-off parliament – a similar large presence is otherwise only common at high-risk football games.