Spain's Parliament is debating Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez's candidacy to form a new government, but deputies are expected to vote later to reject it.

Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the conservative Popular Party opened the session Wednesday saying Sanchez's government plans were a joke and reiterated his party's opposition.

Sanchez needs a majority of votes in the 350-seat parliament in the vote late Wednesday to succeed.

But the Socialists, who won 90 seats in the Dec. 20 election, have only the support of centrist newcomer Ciudadanos, which has 40. The Popular Party, with 123, and far-left newcomer Podemos, with 69, have said they will vote against Sanchez.

Sanchez has another chance Friday in a second round when he needs only more votes in favor than against.