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Spain's Sanchez loses first bid to get parliament backing to form government

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez failed on Sunday in a first attempt to get parliament’s backing to form a government, leaving him two days to secure support to end an eight-month political gridlock.

Sanchez, who has been acting prime minister since elections in April and November did not produce a conclusive result, needed an absolute majority of at least 176 votes in his favour in the 350-seat house to be confirmed in the job. He failed to secure this, a result that had been expected.

On Tuesday, Sanchez will only need a simple majority - more “yes” than “no” votes. He is likely to get that after securing a commitment from the 13 lawmakers of Catalonia’s largest separatist party, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), to abstain.

Reporting by Jesús Aguado and Jessica Jones; Editing by Frances Kerry