Spanish Parliament debates left-wing government formation

MADRID: Spanish lawmakers debated on Saturday whether to approve the proposal of the interim prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, to form a left-wing coalition government for the fourth largest economy in the country.

The Socialist Party of Sanchez wants to form a coalition with the United We Can party of extreme left and anti-austerity for its next government, but it needs the support of several smaller parties to obtain the required parliamentary approval.

Your proposal is not expected to obtain an absolute majority of 176 votes during a first round of voting scheduled for Sunday. The three right-wing parties in Spain have already said that their legislators will vote against.

But the Socialists insist they have the necessary votes to obtain the required simple majority - more votes in favor than against - in a second vote on Tuesday to replace Sanchez in the Moncloa Palace, the seat of the government of Spain.

Socialists have to rely on the goodwill of some 20 legislators who agreed to abstain. Those include the regional party of 13 Catalan ERC deputies, one of several groups that want independence from Spain.

ERC support may be in doubt after the National Electoral Board of Spain ruled Friday that the jailed party leader was not eligible to take a European Parliament seat he won in a European election last year.

Sanchez and United We Can leader Pablo Iglesias will now be waiting to see if ERC changes its position by refraining from voting.

Spain has been directed by Sánchez for almost a year.