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Spain: Pedro Sánchez's socialist candidate wins crucial vote for control of parliament

Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is embraced by Yolanda Diaz before the start of a voting session at the Spanish parliament in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023.
Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is embraced by Yolanda Diaz before the start of a voting session at the Spanish parliament in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023. Copyright Paul White/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Paul White/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP
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In an eleventh-hour deal, socialist candidate Francina Armengol secured the backing of the hard-line wing of Catalan independence and was elected parliament Speaker.

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The socialist government of Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has secured the presidency over its parliament's main administrative body after his socialist candidate won the support of two pro-Catalan independence parties at the eleventh hour.

Spain's outgoing prime minister breathed a sigh of relief after Francina Armengol, a politician from the Socialist Party of the Balearic Islands, secured the backing of the hard-line wing of Catalan independence, thereby electing Armengol as the new president of Congress by an absolute majority. 

The vote was widely considered as a practice run ahead of an important investiture vote next month which will decide who forms the government.

Armengol, with 178 votes in favour out of 350 in the Chamber, won over the candidate of the conservative Popular Party (PP), which despite being the majority group in Congress, with 137 seats, did not obtain the necessary support from other parties to achieve a sufficient majority.

The socialist party PSOE obtained support from the pro-Catalan independence party Junts in exchange for boosting co-official languages in Congress, an investigation into the Pegasus case and measures to "end the repression" related to the illegal Catalonian referendum of 1-O.

Inconclusive national elections on 23 July had left no major party with an easy path to cobble together the support needed to lead a government, and meant parties on the left and right of the spectrum are delicately poised in the fight for power.

Sánchez’s Socialists, the left-wing Sumar (Joining Forces) and four smaller parties can total 171 seats. But the conservative Popular Party, which received the greatest number of votes in the election last month, the far-right Vox party, and one smaller party can also muster the same 171 seats. To get an absolute majority, 176 votes are needed.

The seven members of Junts (Together), a radical Catalan separatist party led by fugitive politician Carles Puigdemont, who is exiled in Brussels, therefore had the power to determine the course of Spain’s politics for the next four years.

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