MADRID - Spain's lower house of parliament on Wednesday rejected by a wide margin a motion of no confidence in the leftist government submitted by the far-right Vox party, as was widely expected.

Only one lawmaker from the centre-right Ciudadanos joined the 52 Vox representatives in supporting the motion, while 201 deputies voted against it in the 350-seat house, and 91, mainly from the conservative People's Party (PP) abstained.

Vox was aware its motion would fail but its leader Santiago Abascal went ahead with the vote, creating a deep rift in the party, the third-largest in parliament after Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's Socialist Workers' Party and the PP.

Analysts say the move could potentially hurt Vox's popularity in an election year. Several recent polls projected Vox would get fewer seats than in the 2019 election.

Vox based its motion on allegations that the government had sided with Catalan and Basque separatists who supported its policies in parliament in exchange for concessions, "wrong and confiscatory" economic and fiscal policy and other accusations. It demanded the immediate ousting of the administration and a snap election.

The two-day debate preceding the vote allowed Sanchez to take the stage to rip into the opposition and highlight his coalition government's achievements as the campaign for regional elections due in May and a general ballot in December is heating up.

"The only aim of this destructive motion is going back 50 years. There is not a candidate to lead the government or programme, only a party that promotes disorder and seeks to undermine the democratic values," Sanchez said during the debate.

The main opposition PP, which had voted against a previous Vox-sponsored no-confidence vote in 2020, this time abstained, drawing scorn from Sanchez, who accused the party of essentially siding with the far right.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Angus MacSwan)