In the wake of intensive negotiations, Spain’s Socialist party has successfully secured alliances with various smaller parties, bolstering acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s chances of reelection, potentially slated for next week.
However, the political landscape has been marred by violent protests erupting in major cities.
Following the July 23 elections, where the Socialists finished in second place with 121 parliamentary seats out of 350, the party has showcased its adeptness at forming alliances across the country.
The recently signed deals with the Basque Nationalist Party and a Canary Island coalition ensure Sánchez can rely on the support of 179 legislators, exceeding the 176-seat majority required for the prime ministerial appointment.
Sánchez, who took office in 2018, is expected to face an investiture debate and vote in the coming days, a process that has been overshadowed by a controversial deal struck with a fringe Catalan separatist party led by the fugitive former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.
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The deal promises the support of seven parliament members in exchange for an amnesty that could affect thousands involved in Catalonia’s failed secession bid six years ago.
While the details of the amnesty bill are yet to be disclosed, its potential benefits to Puigdemont have ignited strong opposition from Spain’s two main opposition parties, the Popular Party and the extreme right Vox group.
The amnesty deal has also faced criticism from the judiciary and police unions, leading to tens of thousands of protesters rallying against it in Madrid and Barcelona over the past weeks. The situation escalated into violence on Thursday night outside the Socialist Party’s headquarters, following four consecutive nights of protests.
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Bottles, beer cans, and fireworks were hurled at a heavily guarded police cordon, prompting officers to intervene with batons, resulting in arrests. Additional protests are planned for the weekend.
Sánchez, who previously opposed amnesty, now argues that it is essential for a return to normal political life in Catalonia and will ultimately benefit Spain.
The ongoing unrest adds an element of uncertainty to the political landscape as the Socialist party and its leftist coalition partner Sumar, with 31 seats, navigate the investiture vote.
Despite winning the most seats in the July election, the Popular Party, led by Alberto Núñez Feijóo, faced challenges garnering support for its investiture bid in September due to its close ties with Vox.
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