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The Spanish Congress is to vote on PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez's investiture as new prime minister in sessions on January 4th, 5th, and almost certainly, the 7th. The speaker of the Spanish parliament's lower house, Meritxell Batet, informed the parliamentary groups of these dates on Tuesday morning. The formal convocation of the investiture debate, however, will not be until January 2nd, according to Congress sources.

The session to attempt to form a Spanish coalition government will thus begin on the first Saturday of the year, probably at 12 noon, with Pedro Sánchez, as the candidate, speaking first. Each parliamentary party will then have an opportunity to state its own position, and after each one, Sánchez will be entitled to respond. This process will continue on Sunday 5th, until reaching a first ballot, in which Sánchez will be required to get an absolute majority (176) of the 350-seat house to become new prime minister - and, given the known arithmetic, he will fail.

Then, Congress will break for the Dia de Reis holiday on the 6th, day of gift-giving, and resume on Tuesday, January 7th, to see if it can give the Socialist leader the present he really wants. A new debate will begin, probably in a reduced format, culminating in a second ballot. This time, the candidate will only need a simple majority to become elected as new prime minister. 

In total, Sánchez hopes to receive the support of 169 deputies, and with the expected abstention of the 13 members from the Catalan party ERC (plus 5 from the Basque party Bildu), this will be sufficient to allow him to form a government, 255 days after Spain went to the polls in the first of its two 2019 elections, on April 28th.