ACTING Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez pulled off a big win on Thursday in his bid to keep his job and form a new government, as the PSOE candidate was elected as the new Congress speaker.
Sanchez picked up regional party support from the Basque Country and crucially Catalunya that put the former Balearic Islands president Francina Armengol in the speaker’s chair.
In exchange for the votes of regional parties, Armengol agreed to allow Catalan and Basque to be considered official languages that can be spoken in Congress.
“Spain always advances when it recognizes its plurality and diversity,” she said.
Armengol also pledged to set a committee to investigate the use of spyware by Spanish authorities against Catalan politicians and activists.
Spain, like other European Union nations, has been accused of using illegal spyware to monitor citizens, but so far few details have emerged about its surveillance programme.
If Pedro Sanchez repeats the coalition with the regional parties as well as the new far-left Sumar grouping, then he will be invested as prime minister.
The PSOE’s speaker nomination was supported by the Catalan centre-right Junt party headed by led by Carles Puigdemont, the self-exiled leader who spearheaded efforts to hold an illegal referendum on Catalan independence in 2017.
Despite yesterday’s support from Junts, Pedro Sanchez has said he will not bow to two of Puigdemont’s key demands if he becomes prime minister with the support of Catalan secessionists.
Puigdemont wants Sanchez to declare an amnesty for those like him implicated in the illegal referendum and he wants a new plebiscite on independence for Catalunya.
But Sanchez has said that both actions are against the Spanish constitution.
Reports in Spanish newspapers quoting unnamed Partido Popular ‘barons’ suggest that Sanchez could well form a new government but due to having to horse trade with other parties and the thin majority, an administration would not last longer than two years.
Basque and Catalan parties also warned Sanchez that a speaker vote is a completely different issue from supporting a government led by him.
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