On Tuesday, Spain moved closer to having a permanent government with the confirmation that the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) of acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will sign a coalition pact with the left-wing electoral platform Sumar.
The key elements of the agreement are to reduce the official working week from 40 hours to 37.5 hours without any reduction of salary; to extend paternity leave; and to strengthen the country’s public health service.
These proposals originate with Sumar, which is led by Yolanda Diaz, the acting minister for labor and social economy. “We are very satisfied,” Sumar spokesperson Ernest Urtasun commented, adding that the agreement “reflected many of the worries of the Spanish people.”
Sanchez is currently locked in negotiations as he attempts to return to power, following the failure of Alberto Nunez Feijoo, leader of the right-wing People’s Party (PP), to win the 176 votes needed in Spain’s Congress in the two investiture votes held in September.
Feijoo, whose party won 137 seats in the July general election, was only able to gain the support of the extreme right-wing Vox and their 33 deputies, along with one vote each from the regional UNP and Coalicion Canaria. All other parties in Congress voted against him.
Although the pact between PSOE and Sumar is a step forward in Sanchez’s efforts to return to power, he still has plenty of work to do.
The PSOE won 121 seats in July, while Sumar claimed 31 and with the support of the deputies from the Basque nationalists Bildu, he now has 157 votes in a theoretical investiture.
This means the Socialist Party leader still needs to convince the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and the Catalan nationalists, Ezquerra Republicana and Junts per Catalunya, to reach the 176-vote threshold, with the Catalan parties demanding an amnesty for those involved in the 2017 Catalan independence referendum, which was deemed illegal by the Spain’s Constitutional Court.
No date has been set for Sanchez’s investiture, but the clock set ticking by Feijoo’s failed attempts means that if he is unable to win power by Nov. 27, a new general election will be called for January.