Second Spanish presidential vote kicks off with no chances of success

Talks between Pedro Sánchez’s Socialists and Unidas Podemos fail, with pro-independence parties voting differently

Image of Pedro Sánchez during his opening statement in his bid for Spanish president (by Inma Mesa/PSOE)
Image of Pedro Sánchez during his opening statement in his bid for Spanish president (by Inma Mesa/PSOE) / ACN

ACN | Madrid

July 25, 2019 01:14 PM

Pedro Sánchez faces a second attempt to be named Spanish president from Thursday at 1.30 pm – but the Socialists’ have no chances of success.

Eleventh-hour talks between his group and also left-leaning Unidas Podemos have failed, with the distribution of ministries being the main source of disagreement between both parties.

One of the specific points in contention is the labor ministry, which Podemos requests, but the Socialists want to keep.

Unidas Podemos announced on Thursday that they would abstain, rendering Sánchez's bid impossible.

Without both parties voting in favor, Sánchez’s bid to remain in power for a second term will fail, despite the fact that pro-independence Esquerra announced earlier on Thursday that it would abstain, thereby paving the Socialists' way to the presidency if Unidas Podemos had decided to vote in favor.

Indeed, Esquerra’s head in Madrid, Gabriel Rufián, announced that his party would abstain to give a Spanish left-leaning coalition "an opportunity."

This will mean a disparity of votes among the two governing parties in Catalonia because Junts per Catalunya has already announced it would reject Pedro Sánchez’s bid.

Sánchez admits talks failed

As the debate began on Thursday, acting president Sánchez admitted that talks with Unidas Podemos have been unsuccessful, and strongly criticized the party's head Pablo Iglesias for their failure. 

With the disagreement stemming from the distribution of strategic ministries, Sánchez spoke directly to Iglesias: “Mr. Iglesias, you continue to not understand that Spain needs a united government, not two governments.” 

Sánchez has, however, recognized pro-independence ERC’s readiness to “facilitate” his nomination.

Right-wing criticism

The People's Party, Ciutadans, and Vox have taken the stand today to criticize Sánchez for his failure to forge a deal.

People's Party's Pablo Casado has accused Sánchez of only seeking alliances with “those who want to abolish the monarchy, who see the Constitution as a padlock, who relativize the criminality of ETA and want Catalonia’s independence,” describing the left-wing talks as “a disgrace.”

Ciutadan's Albert Rivera continued to criticize Sánchez by calling the failed talks between the Socialists and Unidas Podemos a "show." According to Rivera, talks Sánchez and Iglesias were not able to reach an agreement because of their "ego."

On the other hand, Vox's Santiago Abascal said that he would never approve of a government that depeneded on what he described as coup-mongering pro-indpendence Catalans.

Unidas Podemos defends their position

When it was Pablo Iglesias' turn to take the stand, he replied to Sánchez's accusations by saying that it is hard to make deals with a party that modifies and leaks documents to the press. He was still willing, however, to not lead the labor ministry in exchange for being in charge of active labor policies.

Pro-independence parties disagree

The first pro-independence party to speak on Thursday was Esquerra Republicana, with Gabriel Rufián highlighting how pleased the right-wing parties are over the failed agreements between the Socialists and Unidas Podemos, which he said were a mistake.

Rufián also brought mentioned his party leader, Oriol Junqueras, who remains in precautionary detention after 21 months, and gave a children's book written by him to both Sánchez and Iglesias.

On the other hand, Junts per Catalunya's Laura Borràs did not back down and reaffirmed her intent to vote against Sánchez's bid for how he has been dealing with the Catalan independence issue.