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Spain: Sánchez signs pact securing the votes for his re-election in parliament

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Spanish President Pedro Sánchez has signed an agreement with a small Basque party that guarantees him the parliamentary support needed to be reelected, possibly next week. The pact between Sánchez’s Socialist Party and the Basque Nationalist Party means that the leader would have 178 votes, two more than the majority he needs in the 350-seat Congress of Deputies to be reelected.

The previous day, the socialists secured the backing of a marginal Catalan separatist party led by the fugitive former regional president, Carles Puigdemont, in exchange for an amnesty that could affect thousands of people involved in the 2017 failed independence bid. The details of the amnesty bill have not been made public, but it could benefit Puigdemont and dozens of others involved in the illegal independence attempt.

The Spanish courts are still trying to extradite Puigdemont from Belgium, and the amnesty has sparked anger from the opposition parties, including the center-right Popular Party and the far-right Vox. It has also caused discontent among judicial and police unions. In recent weeks, tens of thousands of people have protested in Madrid and Barcelona against the amnesty, and there have been disturbances outside the headquarters of the PSOE in Madrid.

Sánchez, who previously opposed the amnesty, now defends it as necessary to return to political normality in Catalonia and benefit Spain. The agreements signed so far by the PSOE mean that the party, which won 121 seats in the July general elections, will be able to count on an additional 57 votes from six smaller parties for the investiture. It remains to be seen whether the group will last the full four-year term.

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Photo credit apnews.com

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