Pedro Sanchez, the secretary general of Spain’s Socialist Workers’ Party, looks set to become the country’s next prime minister after securing enough votes to topple Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party in an impending no-confidence vote.
The vote is the second advanced by Sanchez against Rajoy in a year.
The vote to oust Rajoy has received the support of six parties, including the progressive bloc of Podemos, the Basque Nationalist Party, the Catalan European Democratic Party, the Republican Left of Catalonia, and United Left, among others.
During the debate Thursday, members of these parties demanded Sanchez ensures a national discussion on self-governance and pro-independence movements, respect civil liberties, and policies to protect Spain's welfare system and repeal neoliberal reforms.
Despite repeated calls by Sanchez for Rajoy to resign, Rajoy announced Thursday he would not step down. His fate as prime minister would be known after a vote Friday, which Sanchez is expected to win.
Spain’s next prime minister has had a long political career. In the late nineties, he worked as an advisor for Barbara Duhrkop, a socialist member of the European Parliament. Later he served in Madrid’s City Council and has been a national legislator for the Socialist party between 2009 and 2011, and between 2013 and 2014.
He has been secretary general of the Socialist Party since 2014, despite a short break between October 2016 and May 2017.
During his reply to the representatives of the parties who have pledged their support for the no-confidence vote against Rajoy, Sanchez assured them they would be involved in “issues such as gender, the environment, public health, and social protection.”
However, he also warned of future disagreements “on the number.” Sanchez has vowed to keep Rajoy’s budget, which casts doubt on his ability to reverse Rajoy’s cutbacks.
In 2016, Podemos offered the Socialist party to form a left-wing government together. However, disagreements on fiscal, economic and territorial policy.
Dialogue to form a government came to an abrupt end after Podemos’ leadership accused Sanchez of lying to them about maintaining conversations with the right-wing party Ciudadanos, which has backed the Popular Party.