January 5, 2020 / 12:19 PM / 13 days ago

Spain's Sanchez loses first bid to get parliament backing to form government

Spain's acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez reacts after his speech during the investiture debate at the Parliament in Madrid, Spain, January 5, 2020. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez failed on Sunday in a first attempt to get parliament’s backing to form a government, leaving him two days to secure support to end an eight-month political gridlock.

Sanchez, who has been acting prime minister since elections in April and November did not produce a conclusive result, needed an absolute majority of at least 176 votes in his favour in the 350-seat house to be confirmed in the job. He failed to secure this, a result that had been expected.

On Tuesday, Sanchez will only need a simple majority - more “yes” than “no” votes. He is likely to get that after securing a commitment from the 13 lawmakers of Catalonia’s largest separatist party, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), to abstain.

Reporting by Jesús Aguado and Jessica Jones; Editing by Frances Kerry

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