March 2, 2016 / 7:24 PM / 2 years ago

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

MADRID (Reuters) - 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.

Spain's Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sanchez attends an investiture debate at parliament in Madrid, Spain, March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

The Socialists and liberal newcomer Ciudadanos voted in favor 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.

Reporting by Madrid newsroom, writing by Julien Toyer; Editing by Sonya Dowsett

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