• Spain's news in English
Spain's Rajoy faces doomed parliament vote to form govt
Rajoy is lacking the support to form a government. Photo: Pierre-Philippe Marcou

Spain's Rajoy faces doomed parliament vote to form govt

AFP · 31 Aug 2016, 14:32

Published: 31 Aug 2016 14:32 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Mariano Rajoy is six votes short of securing a vote of confidence for his government in the 350-seat chamber after two elections that his conservative Popular Party (PP) won but fell short of a majority.

The opposition Socialists have steadfastly refused to back Rajoy, whom they blame for corruption scandals and steep public spending cuts.   

Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez repeated his intention to vote against Rajoy, insisting the PP leader "has no credibility".   

For his part, Rajoy has warned that the deadlock risks jeopardising Spain's economy and even raises questions about democracy.

"It is hard to think of anything that could cause more damage to Spanish democracy than telling citizens that their vote has been useless on two occasions and that a general election needs to be held for a third time," he said.

And weary voters are growing increasingly frustrated with politicians and their inability to forge a compromise to form a government.   

Alicia Gomez, a clerk at a perfume shop near Madrid's central Plaza Mayor square, said politicians were all "playing for time" and she no longer trusted any of them.

"It's a joke, theatre. Politicians should stop right now and reach an agreement whether they like it our not," fumed the 36-year-old.

Christmas election?

After the likely failure of Rajoy's bid on Wednesday, the next step in the political drama comes two days later with a second parliamentary vote.  

For the second vote, the acting prime minister -- who has secured the backing of market-friendly upstart Ciudadanos and the vote of a lone nationalist lawmaker from the Canary Islands - needs only for the Socialists to abstain.

If there is no breakthrough two months after Wednesday's parliamentary ballot, vote-weary Spaniards will be asked to return to the polls on December 25th due to the timings set out in Spanish election law.

But the Socialists and other parties have already proposed shortening the campaign so a repeat election could be held on December 18, a sign that fresh polls are looming.

'Painful slump'

Spain suffered a painful economic slump when a housing bubble burst in 2008 but has bounced back to become of the eurozone's most dynamic economies, growing for 12 straight quarters.

But the political stalemate has begun to show signs of taking its toll on the economy.

Rajoy remains in office as acting prime minister but with no power to propose legislation or spend on new infrastructure projects such as roads and railways.

Story continues below…

Spain's public works ministry and the state companies it oversees spent 20 percent less on contracts in the first six months of this year than they did in 2015.

The lack of a fully functioning government also delays drawing up a national budget for 2017, which needs to be approved by mid-October to comply with European Union rules.

One factor that could change the political calculus is the result of regional elections in the Basque Country on September 25th.  

The Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), which has five seats, could support Rajoy nationally if it needs the backing of the PP to govern in the Basque Country following the regional polls.

But Rajoy angered the PNV during the debate in parliament by focusing on the defence of Spanish unity.

By Daniel Silva

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's Podemos sees golden opportunity in Socialist woes
Pablo Iglesias is ready to step up in opposition. Photo: AFP

As Spain's conservatives prepare to re-take power after 10 months of political limbo, anti-austerity party Podemos has set its sights on replacing the divided Socialists as the main opposition force.

Wildlife ranger accused over decapitated bison in Valencia
The headless corpse of Sauro was found last month. Photo: Carlos Alamo / Reserva de Valdeserrillas

The case of the beheaded bison at a wildlife reserve in Valencia just got a whole lot weirder.

Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available