(dpa) - Spanish Socialist leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who took a second consecutive election victory a month ago, failed to be reconfirmed as prime minister by parliament in a first round of voting on Wednesday.
Zapatero's investiture was backed by 168 votes, all of them coming from his Socialist Party, in the 350-seat parliament. An absolute majority would have required at least 176 votes.
Hundred fifty-eight MPs voted against his confirmation, while 23 abstained.
Zapatero was expected to be elected Friday in a second round of voting which requires a simple instead of an absolute majority.
Zapatero was the first Spanish prime minister elected in a popular vote not to be reconfirmed in a first round of voting.
Zapatero did not win the support of Basque and Catalan regionalists, who had sought extensive concessions towards more self-government in exchange for backing him.