(Bloomberg) -- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez comfortably won a confidence vote on his government, giving him a much needed boost as he grapples with waning support ahead of regional elections in May.

The confidence vote sponsored by far-right party Vox was rejected Wednesday by 201 lawmakers, with 53 voting  in favor and 91 abstaining. 

Vox surprised rivals and supporters by nominating 89-year old former Communist leader Ramón Tamames as its candidate to replace Sánchez. Although Vox and Tamames agree on certain issues, such as their criticism of regional secessionist movements and what they consider an illegitimate government, they disagree on topics including migration and climate change.  

Rather than attack Tamames, Sánchez opted to focus his criticism both at Vox, a nationalist party that has the third largest caucus in Congress, and at the main opposition group, the People’s Party, whose deputies abstained from voting. 

In Spain, the proponent of a confidence vote must also pick a candidate for the job of prime minister before the vote starts. Wednesday’s was the sixth no-confidence vote since the return of democracy in 1978, with Sánchez himself having led the only successful one in 2018 when he ousted conservative Mariano Rajoy. 

The outcome of the vote shows that Sánchez and his Socialist party still enjoy the backing of a majority of the parliament even after clashing with the junior partner in his coalition government, far-left Unidas Podemos, which earlier in March voted against a government proposal to modify a controversial sexual consent law.

In recent months, Sánchez has fallen behind Popular Party leader Alberto Núñez Feijoó in polls, ahead of  regional elections on May 28 and national polls in the later part of the year. PP lawmakers deemed the confidence vote as a political show that could only help Sánchez bolster his image. 

The vote was the second by Vox against Sánchez. 

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