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Spain's newly re-appointed Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is congratulated by People's Party leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo, at the Spanish parliament in Madrid, Spain, November 16, 2023.

Javier Soriano/Pool via

Spain’s controversial new government

After weeks of bare-knuckle bargaining, Pedro Sánchez, leader of Spain’s Socialist Party, has secured a four-seat majority in the country’s 350-seat Parliament to win a second term as prime minister. The process has been exceptionally ugly.

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Spain's PM and PSOE party leader Pedro Sánchez delivers a speech on the day of the general election in Madrid.

REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Who will govern Spain?

Two months ago, when Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez responded to a crushing regional election defeat by calling a snap national election, we gave him slim odds of keeping his job. But we did point out that Sánchez had the survival skills of a political cockroach.

His gamble paid off.

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Vox leader Santiago Abascal speaks to the crowd with Spain's national flag in the background at a campaign stop in Barcelona.

Davide Bonaldo / SOPA Images/Sipa USA via Reuters Connect

Ahead of the Spanish election, the political pendulum is swinging right

More than three years ago, Spain ushered in its first coalition government since democracy was restored in the late 1970s. But that experiment — a minority government led by the left-wing PSOE Party with the far-left Podemos Party as a junior partner, backed by nationalist and separatist forces — might soon give way to another coalition that'll swing the country sharply to the right.

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Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez addresses the media after casting his vote in the municipal and regional elections in Madrid.

Eva Ercolanese/Handout / Latin America News Agency via Reuters Connect

After opposition sweeps local polls, Spain gets early national election

On Monday, Spain's PM Pedro Sánchez responded to the ruling left-wing PSOE party's losses in local/regional elections by calling an early national vote for July 23.

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Spain's opposition People's Party leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo listens to PM Pedro Sanchez speak during a session at the Senate in Madrid.

REUTERS/Susana Vera

Spain votes local but thinks national

On Sunday, municipalities and regions accounting for about half of Spain’s population will hold elections that will reverberate on the national stage.

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People wave separatist Catalan flags and placards during a demonstration following the imprisonment of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart in Barcelona, Spain.

REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Why is Spain pardoning Catalan leaders jailed for sedition?

On Tuesday, Spain's leftwing coalition government will pardon nine Catalan politicians jailed over their failed attempt to secede from the rest of the country less than four years ago. It's a huge gamble for Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who's fighting for his political survival against a majority of popular opinion, an opposition on the rise, the courts, and even part of the Catalan independence movement.

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Ari Winkleman

What We’re Watching: US vaccine patent U-turn, right wins big in Madrid, Biden weighs in on Russia-Ukraine

US reverses course on vaccine patents: In a surprise move, the Biden administration will now support waiving international property rights for COVID vaccines at the World Trade Organization. Until now the US had firmly opposed waiving those patents, despite demands from developing countries led by India and South Africa to do so. Biden's about face comes just a week after he moved to free up 60 million of American-bought AstraZeneca jabs — still not approved by US regulators — for nations in need. It's not clear how fast an IP waiver would really help other countries, as the major impediments to ramping up vaccine manufacturing have more to do with logistics and supply chains than with patent protections alone. But if patent waivers do accelerate production over time, then that could accelerate a globalreturn to normal — potentially winning the US a ton of goodwill.

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What We’re Watching: US-Russia nuclear talks, Spanish PM faces the music, Thai protests continue

US and Russia buy time to talk arms control: Americans and Russians are close to agreeing on a one-year extension of their last remaining nuclear arms control agreement. For months the two sides have been unable to settle on terms to extend the New START treaty, an agreement limiting long-range nuclear weapons that was hammered out by the Kremlin and the Obama administration back in 2011, and expires next February. One of the main points of contention was the Trump administration's insistence that Russia bring China into any new arms control pact. But Beijing has no interest in capping its nuclear arsenal at levels far lower than what the US and Russia have, while the Kremlin says that if China is part of it, then other Western nuclear powers like the UK and France should join as well. But those disputes will be shelved now, as Moscow and Washington have agreed to freeze their nuclear arsenals for one year and to keep talking about an extension in the meantime. Of course, the Kremlin — which proposed the one-year extension as a stopgap — can't be sure just whom they'll be talking to on the US side after January…

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