Madrid, 25 July 2019 (dpa/MIA) – Spanish lawmakers have voted against keeping acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in office, starting a two-month countdown for Madrid to form a new government or face snap elections.
Thursday’s second round of voting – after Sanchez had already failed to win a first round – saw 155 lawmakers vote “no” to keeping him, versus 124 “yes” votes. Another 67 lawmakers decided to abstain.
Sanchez’s Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) had needed the support of the leftist alliance Unidas Podemos (UP) to clinch the simple majority threshold in Thursday’s vote.
But things hadn’t been looking good for Sanchez on Wednesday night after talks between the parties reportedly yielded “little progress.”
Spanish lawmakers also voted on Tuesday against keeping Sanchez in office, almost three months after his PSOE came out on top in national elections on April 28, but without an outright majority.
“My convictions are more important than the post of prime minister,” said Sanchez about his dismissive attitude toward the leftists.
Sanchez’s defeat means Spain must now form a government that can win the confidence of parliament by midnight on September 23, or else King Felipe VI must set a date for snap parliamentary elections.
Until then, the PSOE will continue as to govern with a minority.
Many fear a repeat of 2016, when the country went nearly a year without a regular government. The conservative government that came out of that political impasse also didn’t last long – Sanchez had toppled his predecessor with a vote of no confidence in June 2018.
Spanish media speculate that Sanchez took this week’s losing votes in parliament in stride because he believes his party will do even better in a new round of elections than the last ones in April.