Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez Faces Premiership Vote in Congress

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez Faces Premiership Vote in Congress

Spain’s Pedro Sanchez will seek a new term as prime minister in a confidence vote in parliament this week after he struck a deal with Catalan separatists to shore up their support and secure a majority.

A debate will begin on Wednesday, Parliament Speaker Francina Armengol said, with lawmakers set to confirm whether or not they back a second mandate for the Socialist leader the following day.

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His party had first been expected to file a draft bill that would grant amnesty to hundreds of Catalan activists facing criminal charges over a failed 2017 independence attempt.

The legislation, which has majority backing among lawmakers but has led to nationwide protests, is part of a deal to secure the votes of seven lawmakers of Catalan secessionist party Junts per Catalunya that Sanchez needs. The agreement announced last week seeks to end months of uncertainty since an inconclusive election in July.

The highest-profile beneficiary of the new law would be Carles Puigdemont, the former president of Catalonia who has been a fugitive of Spanish courts since trying and failing to declare the region’s independence six years ago. No drafts of the bill have been made public.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets across Spain on Sunday to protest the planned amnesty. Prosecutors, security forces, judges and business groups have issued statements criticizing the deal.

The protests were organized by the main opposition, the center-right People’s Party, whose leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo previously failed to stitch together enough support to secure the premiership, opening the way to Sanchez.

Separate demonstrations were held most evenings last week in front of the Socialists’ headquarters, with far-right nationalists also repeatedly clashing with the police.

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