SPAIN’S acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez looks set to form a government with his left wing PSOE party and the far left Podemos after an agreement with the pro-independence ERC (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya).
The party, led by Oriol Junqueras, agreed to abstain from voting in this weekend’s Investiture debate, paving the way for a coalition to be formed on Tuesday.
In the November 10 general election, the PSOE won the most seats but failed to reach the required 176-seat majority.
Following the results, Sanchez’s party agreed to form a coalition with the Podemos but the parties’ collective seats were still not enough to form a majority.
The controversial far right VOX party had eaten into the left wing vote share and made precious political headway, becoming the third most popular political party in Spain.
Since no majority had been achieved, the parties needed support from the smaller parties in order to gain election.
The ERC’s decision to support the coalition and abstain from voting in next week’s elections gives Sanchez a possible 13 more seats in parliament, making it extremely likely that a Sanchez-led coalition will lead Spain into 2020.
In order to negotiate the deal, the PSOE agreed to open up talks with the ERC to ‘unblock the political conflict over the future of Catlunya and establish the basis for its resolution’.
The move marks a breakthrough as the November 10 elections were dominated by the future of Catalunya.
Just weeks before Spain’s national vote, mass protests took place on the streets of Barcelona in anger over the jailing of nine separatist leaders over their role in the illegal 2017 independence referendum.
Sanchez has promised that talks with Catalan leaders will take place within 15 days after the formation of a Spanish Government.
The 2020 Investiture Debate will take place until next Tuesday when a decision will be made and a government formed.
Spain will see whether the ERC holds true to its word and allows Spain to form its first coalition leadership since the FET-JONS / UCD coalition of 1979.