FINALLY! The nearly man becomes the Main Man, as Pedro Sanchez forms a government in Spain after a turbulent two year wait.
‘He has the qualities of a true statesman,’ insists celebrated expat author Ian Gibson.
PEDRO Sanchez becoming Prime Minister is ‘great news for Spain’, insists one of the country’s best known expats.
Irish author and Hispanist Ian Gibson told the Olive Press: “I’m delighted, it’s great news. There are going to be lots of compromises, but also solutions.”
The Madrid-based writer, who has lived in Spain for half a century, added: “Sanchez is an amazing man and it’s remarkable to think he stuck it out after being kicked out of his own party and then fighting back.”
The author, who has penned numerous books on Spain and is a global authority on poet García Lorca, added: “He has the qualities of a true statesman and speaks very well. He will be a great asset for Europe.”
Sánchez is set to be sworn in as Spain’s official prime minister after winning a second vote of confidence yesterday.
The PSOE leader will lead the country for the next four years, after an agonizing two year wait and three general elections.
Acting prime minister Sanchez, 47, from Madrid, was forced to recall MPs to sit for the first time over the weekend to confirm his victory.
It was his second attempt at an investiture vote since the PSOE won the most seats in December’s general election, but failed to win an overall majority.
PP leader Pablo Casado, accused him of being an ‘extremist’ who had left the country’s future in the hands of ‘terrorists and coup-mongers’
The vote saw MPs in Spain’s congress vote either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to Sanchez’s proposed left-wing coalition government, propped up by Pablo Iglesias’s Podemos party and a host of other parties.
After a heated afternoon session, he won a knife-edge victory of 167 votes against 165, while 18 MPs, the majority from Catalunya, abstained.
It means Sanchez will preside over the first coalition government in Spain since 1977 after the death of dictator Franco.
The PSOE is propped up by MPs from Unidos Podemos, PNV, Más País, Compromís, Galego Nationalist Block, Teruel Existe and Nueva Canarias.
It was no surprise who voted against the left-wing coalition, with 165 MPs from the Partido Popular, Vox, Ciudadanos, Junts per Catalunya, Navarra Suma and others saying ‘no’.
The left erupted into applause, with some shedding tears, when it was revealed that Sanchez had clinched the vote.
Representatives screamed ‘si, se puede!’ while Sanchez hugged Iglesias, who was photographed in tears.
Spain’s most recent election was the fourth in as many years as the country failed to form a cohesive government.
Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo sent a letter of congratulation to Sanchez on being re-elected, after ‘a tortuous and fractious debate’.
In his letter, he referred to the two men’s shared desire to look beyond ‘the eternal issue’ of sovereignty and he extends the hand of friendship on behalf of the people of Gibraltar.
He also offers his support for the promotion of ‘policies based on the principle of dialogue, understanding and co-operation between our respective people’.
Key to Sanchez’s victory was the abstention of the pro-independence Catalan Republican Left party (ERC), which agreed to sit out the vote after Sanchez vowed to find a solution to the political conflict that has dogged Spain since Catalunya’s separatist regional government tried to secede in 2017.
The government’s opponents argue Sanchez’ ‘Frankenstein government’ will be too beholden to Catalan separatists and pose a threat to Spain’s national unity.
While Sanchez appealed for calm, and called on MPs to overcome the ‘atmosphere of irritation’, his adversaries went on the offensive.
PP leader Pablo Casado, accused him of being an ‘extremist’ who had left the country’s future in the hands of ‘terrorists and coup-mongers’.
In a tweet sent after the vote, Sanchez wrote: “Spain is entering a time for defending dialogue and useful politics. A government for all people that restores co-existence and fights for social justice. Today is the dawn of a time of moderation, progress and hope.”
Spain’s new coalition is expected to roll out a policy of raising income tax for people in Spain who earn more than €130,000.