Spain’s Parliamentary Deadlock Set To End
- Rajoy set to become Spain’s leader at the weekend.
26/10/2016, Nick Gibbs
Providing there are no last minute surprises, Spain’s situation of parliamentary impasse will come to an end on Saturday.
Following inconclusive elections, no party has been able to form a government leaving Spain in a political limboland for the past 10 months.
When acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy attempted to form a Government with his PP (Popular Party – think conservative) earlier in the year, the opposition PSOE (socialist party – think labour) were joined by other minority parties, which resulted in Rajoy being outvoted.
For some time it looked as if there would be yet another election, due to be held on Christmas day, however there was no greater confidence that this would provide a conclusive majority government than in the previous hung election.
The changing factor now is that the PSOE has said they will abstain from Rajoy’s repeated attempt to form a government, which should leave the way clear for the PP to take control, at least a control of sorts.
There are still some hurdles to jump through as some of Spain’s formalities and parliamentary procedures must be observed.
A first vote will be held in congress on Thursday. It is expected Rajoy will lose. The second vote will take place on Saturday and it is then that Rajoy is expected to win. At the second vote on Saturday he will only need a simple majority, (i.e. more than anybody else), as opposed to the first vote on Thursday when he would need an absolute majority, (i.e. more than everybody else combined.)
He will need 170 votes. He will get 137 from his own party, 32 from the emerging centre-right Ciudadanos, and another single vote confirmed from the minnow canaries coalition.
It may be tighter than Russell Brands trousers, but none the less, it will be enough and enable Rajoy to be sworn into office on Sunday and thus end a political stalemate that has had no signs of ending.
The decision by the PSOE to break the deadlock has caused considerable dissention in their own ranks with the threat of expulsion to those who do not honour their decision.
Seven PSOE members from Catalonia have said they will vote against Rajoy in protest. This could leave the PSOE with a difficult decision as should they expel the dissenters, they would lose a sufficient number of seats to allow the Podemos group to overtake them and become the second largest party in congress.
Despite Rajoy’s ability to form a government, it will be one of far less power and effectiveness than that of his first term. There is no ongoing commitment from Ciudadanos in guaranteeing support within a formal political alliance and so the government will have to seek arrangements on a vote-by-vote basis to get new legislation through parliament.
He may take some comfort from the distraction of the resulting bun fight between the PSOE and, what El Pais have described this week as, an “increasingly divided Podemos” as they fight it out to be the top dog opposition group in the Spanish congress.