In a development that could give Spain sorely needed momentum on its path to forming a new government, Pedro Sanchez resigned as the leader of the main opposition Socialist Party. Sanchez had promised to step down if the party voted to end his ban on enabling a coalition conservative-led government.
The tally in Saturday’s vote was 133-109; according to El Mundo, the vote was held by a show of hands, after critics dismissed the use of a ballot box as an attempt to rig the vote.
Hours of debate and procedural maneuvering preceded Saturday’s vote, which also came days after roughly half of the Socialists’ executive committee resigned to protest Sanchez’s insistence on not working with the conservative Popular Party, the party of interim Prime Minister Mariano Roy.
The conservatives came out on top in two national elections — one last December and another in June — but by a margin that requires it to form a coalition government. With the Socialist Party withholding their 85 parliamentary seats, that proved impossible.
Spain’s parliament now has until the end of October to form a new government led by the Popular Party. If that fails, Spanish voters will be confronted with their third national election in a year. A general vote will be planned for December of this year if a coalition doesn’t take root.