Swearing in of MPs takes place in parliament but no agreement on government yet

The 'diputados' sitting in the Congreso chamber during the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday.
The 'diputados' sitting in the Congreso chamber during the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. / EFE
  • PSOE needs the support or abstention of the ERIC Catalan republican party to see Padre Sánchez become PM in a coalition with Unidas Podemos

The official swearing-in ceremony for MPs in the country's new parliament took place on Tuesday. During the day's events, the speaker was chosen and the MPs (diputados) swore allegiance.

Now that parliament has officially opened for business following the general election last month, MPs can focus on voting on who will be the next prime minister and form a government. Current acting Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez has the most MPs with his PSOE party but still needs more support to get a majority in an investiture vote.

There was a sense of deja vu during Tuesday's swearing-in, as the parliament had only last been opened in May, before the failure to form a government had forced Spain back to the polling booths this autumn.

There was the usual procedural discussions over how much say the smaller parties will get in deciding parliamentary business and complaints from right-wing parties that pro-republican and separatist MPs had changed the wording of their acceptance of allegiance to the King.

Meritxell Batet was reappointed as speaker. She met with the King on Wednesday. Felipe VI now must decide who to nominate as candidate to be PM after meetings with all party leaders, and it is seen as unlikely that an investiture debate will take place before January.

Catalan republican support

The PSOE continues to meet with the ERC (Catalan republican party), whose abstention it needs in order to take power in a coalition with Unidas Podemos. Both sides said this week that their positions were getting closer. ERC wants a formal forum to discuss Catalonia's position within Spain, which many even within the PSOE are nervous about agreeing to.