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Spain heads for its second general election of 2019 as Sanchez admits defeat after a second failed confidence vote.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez lost a vote of confidence Thursday after he rejected the demands of the leftist Unidas Podemos party, declaring that he will not attempt to do form a government again, meaning snap elections will be triggered for November 2019.
Pedro Sanchez’s party, the center-left PSOE, was the largest party at the recent elections in April. However, fell short of a parliamentary majority so had to face a vote of confidence in parliament on whether the PSOE was to govern as a minority or in a coalition.
However, Sanchez only scored 124 votes in favor and received 155 votes against. Despite months of negotiations, Sanchez only won the support of his party, plus one lawmaker from a regional party. Meanwhile, the right-wing parties, centrists, and Catalan and Basque nationalists voted against him. The leftist Unidas Podemos, led by Pablo Iglesias, abstained after negotiations with Sanchez broke down at the last minute.
Constitutionally, Sanchez has until September to hold another vote of confidence, but he has already ruled that out, saying that failure to approve his government on Wednesday would be the beginning of a new electoral cycle. Therefore, in September, elections will officially be triggered and will take place in November. These will be the fourth election in Spain in 4 years, as the country has been hit hard by years of austerity and recession.
There were hopes for a ‘government of the left’ involving a coalition between PSOE and the leftist Podemos. However, Pedro Sanchez rejected Podemos’ demands just hours before the confidence vote.
Podemos had asked for its lawmakers to be given the portfolios for four different departments, which include the Ministry of Equalities, Sanitary Affairs, Labor and Universities. One concern for PSOE was that Podemos wanted Sanitary Affairs so that they could put a stop to the process of privatization of sewage and sanitary systems that Sanchez had been carrying out.
New elections may open the door for the further rise of Vox, a new far-right party that won representation in parliament for the first time in April. They struck an aggressive tone at the parliamentary session on Wednesday, saying that they will not vote for Sanchez or any government of the left, saying; “We will never support a government with Chavista ministers, leading Spain to destruction with the neo-communism that you represent.”
Podemos responded to the confidence vote via Twitter, stating their disappointment in Sanchez. "Mr. Sánchez has not fulfilled the mandate given to him by Spanish society. Despite our compromises, he has been unable to reach an agreement to build a progressive coalition government, which is what citizens asked him to do.”