AN opposition MP accidentally voted ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’ thereby allowing a controversial labour reforms to pass into law.

Spain’s left-wing coalition government succeeded in pushing through labour reforms required by the EU in order to access aid from the coronavirus emergency fund, thanks to the error.

The measure was approved by Spain’s Congress on Thursday by a margin of just one vote winning 175 votes to 174 against in the 350-seat chamber.

Securing support for the reforms in the fragmented parliament had proved difficult for the minority-coalition government – Sanchez’s Socialists and hard-left coalition partner Podemos.

Key allies who have in the past proved essential in passing important legislation and approving the budget, notably Basque and Catalan independence parties, would not lend their support to labour reforms.

Instead, the Socialist-led government won unlikely support from the opposition centre-right Ciudadanos party.

But it passed only thanks to a member of the right-wing Popular Party, Alberto Casero, appeared to mistakenly back the measure and was not permitted to change his vote.

The PP appealed for the vote to be changed, blaming the chamber’s IT system for the error.

But the president of the chamber, Socialist Meritxell Batet refused to consider it, leading to PP accusations that the vote was rigged.

 and said it “would make all the necessary complaints so that justice is done”.

The landmark reform – a long-standing electoral commitment of the Socialists and their coalition partners Unidas Podemos – is considered essential in order to receive the next grant of European recovery funds worth €12 billion later this year.

“This is the most important law of the legislature,” Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz told parliament before the vote.

She explained how the reforms would counter Spain’s chronic problem of joblessness and precarious employment, where a quarter of the workforce is hired on temporary contracts.

The measures were agreed last December with unions and employers’ organisations.


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