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Spanish parliament overwhelmingly rejects far-right's no-confidence motion

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez attends a no confidence motion against the government at parliament in Madrid, Spain, October 22, 2020. Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Pool via Reuters

Spain's parliament on Thursday threw out, as expected, a motion of no confidence in Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez launched by the far-right Vox party and dismissed as a 'circus show' by the main conservative opposition Partido Popular.

The motion was rejected by 298-52 votes.

Vox, which argued the minority leftist coalition government had botched the handling of the coronavirus pandemic, was the only party that voted for it a day after Spain became the first nation in Western Europe to pass 1 million total infections.

Highlighting growing divisions and power struggles on the right, PP head Pablo Casado had attacked Vox - the third-largest force in a deeply fragmented parliament - in his fiery speech before the vote, saying its proposal only helped reinforce the minority leftist coalition government's grip on power.

"You are already part of Spain's problem and cannot be part of the solution that my party represents," he told parliament, addressing Vox leader Santiago Abascal.

“The PP does not want to be the party of lies, fear, rage and manipulation.”

Vox rose from obscurity to become the third largest group in parliament, and shares power with the PP in some regional and municipal governments. But the centre-right PP has been at pains to distance itself from the far right at the national level.

Mr Abascal said the PP had committed "a gigantic error" rejecting the motion and attacking his party.

The prime minister responded to Mr Casado's gesture by proposing a deal with the PP on a long-stalled judicial reform, which has held up the appointment of new judges to higher courts for two years.

"I announce here that on our behalf we will stop the clock of the reform of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) so we can reach an agreement with you ... for the sake of our democracy," Mr Sanchez said.

Various analysts and health experts have said the politicisation of the response to the health crisis, which often saw the central government locking horns with regional authorities, has hampered the effort.

This week Spain became the first nation in Western Europe to pass 1 million total infections.

(Reuters)

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