Socialist Party leader Pedro Sanchez (L) is congratulated by Deputy Prime Minister and the allied Sumar party's leader, Yolanda Diaz (R), after he became Prime Minister by an absolute majority vote at the Congress of Deputies, in Madrid. EPA-EFE/Juan Carlos Hidalgo


Spain’s Sánchez re-elected PM with separatists’ support


Spain’s parliament re-elected Pedro Sánchez today from the Socialist Party (PSOE) as prime minister.

Sánchez secured support from 179 MPs, three more than the absolute majority required.

Support from Catalonian separatist parties was crucial in reaching the mark.

Seven MPs from fugitive Carles Puigdemont’s Junts per Catalunya supported Sánchez in exchange for Sánchez’s party tabling a controversial amnesty law to pardon Catalan secessionists.

Some of them had been convicted or accused of crimes including rebellion and street terrorism.

Left-leaning Catalan separatist party Esquerra Republicana backed Sánchez as well.

The amnesty “will not be an attack on the Constitution”, Sánchez says.

The law will be passed “with total transparency” and “will evidently benefit several people, including political leaders whose ideas I do not share and whose actions I reject”, he adds.

The amnesty will also apply to “policemen that suffered the consequences of a political crisis no one can be proud of”, he says.

The progressive party Sumar, the Canarian Coalition, and the Galician and Basque separatist parties also support Sánchez’s bid.

“With the amnesty democracy wins,” says Sumar leader and new deputy prime minister Yolanda Díaz.

“This is the only way that gives us a future as a people,” she adds.

Parliament’s right-wing bloc, including the centre-right Partido Popular (PP) and the conservative Vox, opposes Sánchez’s coalition.

“History will not grant you amnesty,” PP leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo told Sánchez.

Feijóo was the King’s first candidate for PM, after his party came first in July’s general elections. He failed to attraction sufficient votes from coalition partners, though.

Sánchez intends to “give a coup” against Spain, says Vox leader Santiago Abascal.

He and his 33 MPs abandoned the chamber after a tense exchange with the Socialist Party speaker.

The speaker had asked Abascal to withdraw his comments “for being against the foundations of democracy”.

The European Commission, which received a draft of the amnesty bill after it was tabled, raised “serious concerns” about it.

Tensions remain high, with Vox and other groups calling for a “permanent mobilisation” outside Socialist Party offices in Madrid and major Spanish cities.

Prime Minister Sánchez is expected to announce new cabinet members over the coming weekend.