Spain’s Sanchez Returns, but Under a Cloud

Spain’s Sanchez Returns, but Under a Cloud
Then-interim Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks during the first session of the parliamentary investiture debate for his reelection, in Madrid, Spain, on Nov. 15, 2023 (Europa Press photo by Gustavo Valiente via AP Images).

Pedro Sanchez was elected Spain’s prime minister last week in a parliamentary investiture in which he won an absolute majority of 179 votes, the most he has tallied in his three elections to the office since 2019. Sanchez’s victory comes almost three months to the day after Spain’s snap elections on July 23, but also after weeks of massive protests that, though largely peaceful, saw violent attacks on the headquarters of Sanchez’s Socialist Party, or PSOE, in Madrid.

For Sanchez, his investiture represents a validation of his high-risk gamble to call early elections that he was widely expected to lose. But the protests reflect why this is his most controversial victory to date: In exchange for the seven votes of Junts—a center-right Catalan separatist party—that he needed to win reelection, Sanchez agreed to a broad amnesty for those accused of crimes committed in connection with the Catalan independence movement.

Sanchez needed Junts’ votes because the outcome of July’s ballot was inconclusive. His rival Alberto Nunez-Feijoo’s People’s Party, or PP, finished with the most seats and got first crack at forming a government. But even after joining forces with the ultra-right Vox party, Feijoo came up short of the 176 votes necessary to do so. The only way for either Feijoo or Sanchez to get there was with the help of regional parties from Catalonia and the Basque country. But both the PP and Vox refer to them as criminals and terrorists and refused to negotiate with them.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review