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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - MADRID - Spain's parliament will vote Tuesday on whether to confirm Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez as prime minister at the helm of the country's first-ever coalition government.
Sanchez, who has stayed on as a caretaker premier since inconclusive elections last year, is seeking to be reappointed for another term. He wants to form a minority coalition government with hard-left party Podemos this time around.
On Sunday Sanchez lost a first confidence vote having failed to win backing from an absolute majority in the 350-seat parliament.
He now faces a second vote on Tuesday when he needs just a simple majority -- more yes votes than no -- to remain prime minister.
While the political math works in his favor after the Socialists struck a deal last week with the 13 lawmakers from Catalan separatist party ERC to abstain, the numbers still look tight.
At the latest count Sanchez, 47, could win on Tuesday by a margin of just two votes after the sole lawmaker from the regional Coalicion Canaria formation broke party ranks at the weekend to say she would vote against him instead of abstaining.
Spain, the eurozone's fourth-largest economy, has been in political gridlock without a proper government for most of the past year after two inconclusive elections in April and November.
Sanchez's Socialists won a repeat November 10 poll but were weakened, taking 120 seats -- three fewer than in April -- in an election which saw upstart far-right party Vox surge to third place.
Sanchez quickly struck a deal with Podemos to form what would be the first post-dictatorship coalition government in Spain, despite having previously said that a coalition with the far-left party would keep him up at night. -AFP
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