Pedro Sanchez surprises and hopes to stay in power

The vote did not result in a majority. Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his conservative rival Alberto Nuñez Feijoo claim their ability to govern.



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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Budget Minister Maria Jesus Montero in Madrid, Spain, July 23, 2023. (JAVIER SORIANO/AFP)

Given the loss of parliamentary elections in all polls, Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez managed on Sunday 23 July to limit the gains of the right-wing opposition and, against all odds, to keep the chances of staying in power thanks to the game of alliances.

After more than 99% of the votes were counted, the Popular Party (PP) of its conservative rival Alberto Núñez Feijoo won 136 seats out of 350 in the Congress of Deputies, while the far-right Vox party, its only potential ally, won 33. Far from an absolute majority of 176 seats.

“Retrograde Block Defeated”

Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist Party is credited with only 122 deputies, while Sumar, his radical left ally, has 31. But the prime minister, in power for five years, could remain in power with the support of the Basque and Catalan parties. “The retrograde bloc of the People’s Party and Vox has been defeated”, he rushed to the socialist militants gathered in front of his party’s headquarters.

The narrow winner of this election, Alberto Nunez Feihoo also claimed the right to form a government. The People’s Party has “won the election” AND “Our duty now is to prevent the start of a period of uncertainty in Spain.”, he launched. Without an absolute majority, he intends to rule in a minority, but the socialists will have to abstain from voting on investiture in parliament.

But the socialist camp has already made it clear that it is not going to do this. After the left was crushed in the local elections at the end of May, Pedro Sánchez did indeed call this early election and campaign in fear of the far right coming into government if the People’s Party won.

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