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Spanish Premier Pedro Sánchez announces cabinet of the progressive coalition government

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Picture: Francisco Gomez – Spanish Premier Pedro Sánchez announces cabinet members of the progressive coalition government. Conservative and right-wing sections have organised protests across the country denouncing Sánchez’s negotiations with Catalan and Basque sections.

By Peoples Dispatch

On November 20, Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez announced his new cabinet, comprising 22 members, 12 of whom are women. The majority of the ministers are from PSOE, while the leftist Sumar group, led by Yolanda Diaz, including the Communist Party of Spain (PCE), received 5 positions in the cabinet. Podemos was not included in the cabinet.

Last week, legislators elected Sánchez to lead the country, with 179 votes in favour and 171 against, ending the political uncertainty that lingered in the county since the Spanish general elections in July this year. The general elections ended in a hung parliament with no party or coalition gaining a simple majority in the 350-seat Chamber of Deputies.

After months of exhaustive talks and negotiations, Pedro Sánchez was able to garner the support of nationalist and republican sections from Catalonia and Basque after proposing an amnesty deal for the leadership of the Catalan independence protests, including the leadership of Junts per Catalunya, which has 7 MPs in the Chamber of Deputies.

Such a bid to give amnesty to “separatists” has irked the hyper-nationalists, and right-wing sections. Large-scale protests led by the conservative People’s Party and far-right Vox have been organised in many parts of the country, condemning Sánchez.

Earlier on November 6, a section of the right-wing protesters turned violent and tried to storm the PSOE office, clashing with the police. The leadership of the PSOE and the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) denounced the attack and labeled the ongoing right-wing protests an attempt to derail democracy in the country.

In the July elections, the conservative People’s Party (PP) of Alberto Núñez Feijoo emerged as the single largest party with 137 seats and 33.1% of the vote. The PP fell well short of the simple majority of 176 seats and the right-wing Vox party also faced a setback in the election, ending the possibility of a PP-Vox right-wing coalition government. Meanwhile, defying predictions, the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), led by incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, managed to hold its ground, and secured 121 seats with 31.7% votes.

Following the announcement of the new cabinet, the leader of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE), Enrique Santiago, stated, “It’s good that maximum forces involved in Sumar are at the next Council of Ministers”. “Working together in the left unity spaces is the guarantee to continue advancing transformations that improve the lives of the working class.”

“The destabilising attempts of the right-wing have failed, we’re fighting for more rights and more freedoms for the social working majority, starting by raising the minimum wage,” he added.

This article was first published on Peoples Dispatch