• Spain's news in English
Rajoy faces second doomed vote to form Spanish govt
A third election seems likely. Photo: AFP

Rajoy faces second doomed vote to form Spanish govt

Fiona Govan · 2 Sep 2016, 14:46

Published: 02 Sep 2016 14:46 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Mariano Rajoy, whose conservative Popular Party (PP) has ruled since 2011, lost a first confidence vote on Wednesday with 170 in favour - six votes short of the required absolute majority.

This time around he only needs more votes in favour than against but he is expected to fail again since the parties that opposed him have said they will maintain their "no" votes rather than abstaining to allow him to form a minority government.

The PP, in power since 2011, won the most seats in elections held in December and June but fell short of a majority both times as voters angry over corruption and austerity flocked to new parties.

It has only managed to secure the support of new centrist party Ciudadanos and a lone MP from the Canary Islands.   

If there is no breakthrough two months after Wednesday's parliamentary ballot, vote-weary Spaniards will be asked to return to the polls in December.   

The PP has pressured the Socialists, their main rivals who finished second in the last two elections, to drop their opposition.

"We can't have new elections, we can't be this ridiculous," said the PP's parliamentary spokesman, Rafael Hernando, ahead of the second vote in the assembly expected late Friday.

Rajoy argued during Wednesday's debate that he deserved to be prime minister again because his party had won 2.5 million more votes than the Socialists in the June 26 election and was the only formation to boost its showing.

But Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez told MPs that Rajoy had "no credibility" because of allegations of illegal financing that have dogged the PP under his watch.

Sanchez fears losing his own credibility with his supporters if he were to abandon his long-time opposition to Rajoy, according to members of his entourage.

"We are going to do what we said we would do during the election campaign, which is to not allow Rajoy to remain at the head of the government," the Socialists' parliamentary spokesman Antonio Hernando said Thursday.

'No budgets'   

The New York Times also urged the Socialists to abstain in an editorial published Friday, arguing "there is little chance they would improve their position in December."

"The alternative, however, is four more months of interim government, which means no budgets, no new ministers and most likely no legislation," it added. 

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

Story continues below…

The lack of a fully-functioning government has also delayed the drafting of a 2017 budget, 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.

The PNV has backed minority PP governments in the past but Rajoy has angered the party with his strong defence of national unity over the years.

By Patrick Rahir

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

Fiona Govan (fiona.govan@thelocal.com)

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