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Spain’s Socialist leader loses first vote to become prime minister

PSOE leader Pedro Sanchez delivers a speech in parliament at the start of an investiture debate in Madrid

The leader of Spain’s Socialists Pedro Sanchez lost a parliamentary vote to become the country’s next prime minister on Wednesday, securing the backing of only 130 representatives in the 350-strong assembly.

The Socialists and liberal newcomer Ciudadanos voted in favour of Sanchez while the ruling conservative People’s Party (PP), anti-austerity upstart Podemos, the former communist Izquierda Unida and four regional parties from the Basque Country and Catalonia voted against him. A small party from the Canary Islands abstained.

Sanchez can still be elected Prime Minister if he wins a simple majority of seats in a second vote on Friday although that scenario is unlikely too, as parties who voted against him on Wednesday have already said they won’t change their vote.

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