Sánchez PM thanks to separatists: at what cost?

Pedro Sánchez remains Spain's prime minister after 179 out of 350 MPs voted on Thursday in favour of a government led by Sánchez's PSOE and the leftist Sumar alliance. The slim majority was also secured thanks to the promise of an amnesty for Catalan separatists, something the opposition and hundreds of thousands of Spaniards have protested against. Europe's press is divided.

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La Vanguardia (ES) /

Defuse fears and fix the cracks

Sánchez must now heal the wounds he has inflicted, advises editor-in-chief Jordi Juan in La Vanguardia:

“The price he has paid for his re-election is very high in terms of the unease and dissatisfaction of many citizens who disapprove of the pact with the Catalan separatists. The new challenge he must face from today on if he wants to remain in power is not just to resolve the differences of opinion that exist within the amalgamation of parties that support him. It is equally crucial that he should strengthen the climate of coexistence that has developed in Catalonia and reassure all those who fear a resurgence of the Catalan struggle for independence.”

ABC (ES) /

Quid pro quos could tear government apart

Sánchez's majority is precarious, warns ABC:

“Sánchez has shown that he is prepared to do whatever it takes to ensure his political survival. ... However, it cannot be ruled out that some of his allies will soon demand quid pro quos that are incompatible with each other. Sánchez has succeeded in being elected prime minister. The real challenge begins now, with a legislative period that is certain to be hostile and in which nothing is guaranteed.”

The Spectator (GB) /

Grand coalition would be better and more stable

The Spectator would have liked to see a governing coalition between the Socialists (PSOE) and conservatives (PP):

“More than two-thirds of the electorate voted for these two parties which together won 258 of the 350 seats in parliament in July's general election. Such a coalition would have been able to form a stable, centrist government, truly representative of moderate, mainstream Spanish opinion. The radical left Sumar and the separatist parties, instead of wielding hugely disproportionate influence, would have been left as mere bystanders. Indeed, since Spaniards are averse to wasting their vote, future elections might well have seen a reduction in support for the extremists and separatists.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Good news for Europe

Der Standard is happy that Spain has not formed a right-wing populist government similar to that in Budapest:

“Sánchez's election is good news for Europe. Not least, it is the result of a firewall against the far-right Vox. Since the conservative Partido Popular forms governing coalitions with them in municipalities and regions and maintains an action alliance with them at national level, this also affects the PP. Sánchez's success saves one of the major EU countries from a government like the one in Hungary.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Saviour of the left in Brussels

Sánchez's re-election is good news for all social democrats in the EU, Corriere della Sera notes:

“Pedro the tenacious, Pedro the liar, Pedro the cunning, Pedro the survivor, el Guapo. There are many names for the Spanish prime minister. Starting today, the European left should call him Pedro the saviour. Because this time Sánchez has not only avoided the worst scenario for himself and his Socialist Party - which emerged with broken bones from the local elections in May - but, thanks to his Machiavellian instincts, he has also got the Brussels governing front - which was in danger of seeing its ally, the European People's Party, sink into the arms of the Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) - out of the mess it was in.”