Spain’s acting prime minister Pedro Sánchez expected to win backing for new term – Europe live | Spain

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Key events

Sam Jones

The conservative People’s party (PP) leader, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, underscored Sánchez’s reliance on Junts as he arrived in congress this morning.

The investiture isn’t happening today or yesterday – it’s already a done deal that was agreed outside Spain, in Waterloo.

Waterloo is where the Junts leader, Carles Puigdemont, has lived since fleeing Spain to avoid arrest for his role in orchestrating the 2017 referendum.

Alberto Núñez Feijóo arrives at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid.
Alberto Núñez Feijóo arrives at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid. Photograph: Rodrigo Jimenez/EPA

Sam Jones

Pedro Sánchez has thanked Bildu for its support – something else that won’t go down well with the PP and Vox.

Sam Jones

Speaking in the investiture debate, Mertxe Aizpurua, an MP for the leftwing Basque nationalist party EH Bildu, called on Pedro Sánchez to govern to help working-class people.

You need to govern and think in the interests of the majority of working people and not in those of the big companies, banks and multinationals.

Aizpurua attacked the PP for its fierce opposition to the Catalan amnesty, pointing out that post-Franco Spain was born from the 1977 amnesty that aimed to leave the crimes of the dictatorship era in the past.

You rejected an amnesty for people who didn’t commit any crime, yet you revere the 1977 amnesty that gave total impunity for the crimes of Francoism and those who committed them.

Vox, which loathes Bildu for its links with the former political wing of the Basque terror group Eta, is not in the chamber this morning.

Mertxe Aizpurua speaks during the investiture debate
Mertxe Aizpurua speaks during the investiture debate. Photograph: Juan Carlos Hidalgo/EPA

Spain’s investiture debate continues this morning, ahead of a vote today.

Mertxe Aizpurua
Mertxe Aizpurua, a member of the pro-Basque independence EH Bildu party, speaks during the investiture debate. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters
Pedro Sánchez and Nadia Calviño
Pedro Sánchez and the acting first deputy prime minister, Nadia Calviño, listen to Aizpurua’s speech. Photograph: Juan Carlos Hidalgo/EPA

Junts will vote for Sánchez, spokesperson confirms

Sam Jones

Despite her plainly worded warning yesterday, Junts’s spokesperson, Miriam Nogueras, has confirmed that her party will vote for Sánchez today.

She told the Catalan radio stations RAC1: “We respect the agreements we reach. Months ago we started negotiations that continue today, and Sánchez’s investiture is only one of the points of the agreement we have signed.”

Miriam Nogueras speaking in parliament on Wednesday
Miriam Nogueras speaking in parliament on Wednesday. Photograph: Kiko Huesca/EPA

It’s a big day for Pedro Sánchez. Here’s a photo of the socialist politician arriving for today’s session and vote.

Pedro Sánchez arrives for the investiture debate and vote at the Spanish parliament in Madrid.
Pedro Sánchez arrives for the investiture debate and vote at the Spanish parliament in Madrid. Photograph: Manu Fernández/AP

Don’t tempt fate, Junts tells Sánchez

Sam Jones

Yesterday’s debate was every bit as tense, angry and bitter as one would expect given the issues at stake and the four months of tension and frantic negotiation that have followed July’s inconclusive general election.

But beyond the showdown between the PSOE and its partners and the PP and Vox, there were also signs of just how fraught the coming legislature is likely to be.

Pedro Sánchez’s assertion that “a united Spain is a better Spain” did not go down with his new backers in Carles Puigdemont’s hardline separatist Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia) party.

Its spokesperson, Miriam Nogueras, warned Sánchez that her party’s support for his minority coalition government remained conditional.

“If we are here today it is to make things really change,” she said. “But if there is no progress, we will not approve any initiative presented by your government. It is linked to progress and compliance with agreements.”

Lest the message wasn’t clear enough, she told him “not to tempt fate”.

Junts was always bound to want to demonstrate its independence to MPs and the world – despite its deal with Sánchez – but her words will not be reassuring as the PSOE leader prepares for a new term.

Pedro Sánchez defends Catalan amnesty law as ‘demonstration of strength’

Sam Jones

Spain’s acting prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has defended the controversial Catalan amnesty law that is set to deliver his socialist party a second term, saying the act of clemency towards hundreds of people involved in the push for regional independence is needed to promote “dialogue, understanding and forgiveness”.

Sánchez and his partners in the leftwing Sumar alliance have agreed to the amnesty in order to secure the key votes of the ERC and Junts, provoking a furious backlash from the conservative People’s party (PP) and Vox, who have accused Sánchez of caving into the separatists, hypocrisy and putting self-preservation before the national interest. The PP has called on the EU to weigh in on the proposed law, while Vox has suggested the acting prime minister is perpetrating “a coup d’état in capital letters”.

Speaking in congress yesterday as MPs held an investiture debate that will be followed by a vote today that he already has the numbers to win, Sánchez said the amnesty would help the country turn the page on the past.

“In the name of Spain and its interests and in the defence of coexistence between Spaniards, we’re going to grant an amnesty to those people who are facing legal action over the [Catalan independence] process,” he said.

“This amnesty will benefit many people, political leaders whose ideas I do not share and whose actions I reject, but also hundreds of citizens who were swept up in the process.”

Read the full story here.

Pedro Sánchez during the investiture debate in the Spanish parliament on Wednesday.
Pedro Sánchez during the investiture debate in the Spanish parliament on Wednesday. Photograph: Isabel Infantes/Getty Images

Welcome to the blog

Good morning and welcome back to the Europe blog.

Today we will be focusing on Spain, where the acting prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, is expected to win congressional backing for a new term in a vote today.

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