People's Party candidate loses PM bid, handing chance to Socialists backed by pro-independence bloc

Alberto Núñez Feijóo urges Pedro Sánchez to answer 'Yes or no to amnesty and self-determination referendum?'

People's Party leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo in the Spanish Congress
People's Party leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo in the Spanish Congress / Javier Barbancho
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

September 29, 2023 02:09 PM

September 29, 2023 03:09 PM

of the People's Party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, who attempted for a second time this week to become the next Prime Minister, lost the vote on Friday afternoon. Now, the Socialist candidate and acting PM Pedro Sánchez could have a chance to stay on for another term, but to do so, he needs the support of Catalan pro-independence parties

Feijóo's bid received 172 votes in favor and 177 against and one null, short of the majority needed to get on the top spot. While on Wednesday, after the first debate, the candidate needed an absolute majority, in this case he only needed a simple majority - more yes votes than no. 

The null vote was of Junts MP Eduard Pujol, who accidentally voted in favor of Feijóo's bid, but quickly realised the error and tried to correct it.

Minutes before the vote, Feijóo spoke to the chamber and urged Socialist Pedro Sánchez to answer if he would say "yes or no to an amnesty or to a self-determination referendum," requested by Catalan pro-independence parties in recent days

Only on Friday, the Catalan parliament voted in favor of only supporting a PM bid if the candidate ensured he would work towards setting the conditions for a self-determination vote. He also said that he has a duty that he will not evade

The People's Party candidate asked Sánchez to "have the courage" to speak in the chamber, but he did not do so, and instead MP Óscar Puente addressed the lower house; the same move the Socialists played on Wednesday. 

Pro-independence parties 

Esquerra Republicana considered the vote and the debate on Feijóo's bid to become the next PM as "vaudeville," in reference to the short acts of comedy in the early part of the 20th century. 

"Once the amnesty is achieved, it will be time to open a new negotiation process and to set the conditions for Catalonia to vote," Teresa Jordà, ERC's spokesperson in congress, said in Catalan, one of the official languages in the chamber after a deal reached between several parties to name a Socialist as the house speaker, including ERC and the Socialists. 

Junts also rejected Feijóo's bid and considered that "voting is not a division. In Catalonia voting means consensus," Míriam Nogueras said. 

"Catalonia now has to be Catalonia," she said, as over "70% of residents in the territory are in favor of solving this political conflict in the ballots." 


Socialist deputy Óscar Puente considered that Feijóo took advantage of the invitation from Spain's King Felipe VI to form a government just to make a "show." 

Similarly, left-wing coalition Sumar called the conservative candidate a "liar," saying he was not truthful to Congress when "not accepting his defeat." 

Far-right Vox, who voted in favor of Feijóo's attempts to be the next PM, criticized Pedro Sánchez as "evil and corrupt," Santiago Abascal, the party's president, said. 

PM or snap election 

After Feijóo failed to win the first vote, the countdown to another election began. 

Congress now has two months to elect a Prime Minister, otherwise, an election will be called for 54 days later. 

Therefore, Pedro Sánchez would need to win the support of congress before November 26. Otherwise, Spain will go to the polls again on January 14, 2024. 

To be renamed PM, he needs the support of 176 deputies in the chamber, which will include Catalan and regional pro-independence parties.