ONLY Albert Rivera, leader of Ciudadanos, emerged from the past four-and-a-half months with increased popularity rankings. He said during Pedro Sanchez’s first investiture attempt that he would rather be useful than important and now he is both.
Pablo Iglesias and Podemos will continue to criticise, ridicule or ignore Rivera before the election and disdain his votes and seats afterwards, but either Sanchez or Rajoy could need them.
How to prevent Rivera from doing well on June 26 without alienating him June 27? The Spanish have a phrase for it: keeping your clothes safe when you swim – not easy, when Iglesias continually makes waves.
PABLO IGLESIAS refers to the June 26 election as the second round, although he’s got it wrong.
If it were, it would be a straight contest between Mariano Rajoy and Pedro Sanchez and the latter would scoop up the votes that Podemos and its allies denied him in both investiture attempts. Just call it the second time around although, unlike love, it’s not so much better.
JUNE 26 will decide Spain’s next government and also Pedro Sanchez’s fate. If he does well by winning more votes even though he loses the election, he stays.
Haemorrhage votes and he’ll go, probably making room for Susana Diaz, although if Sanchez trips up the PSOE will be crossing the desert for years to come, regardless of who heads it.
Doing it by the book
MARIANO RAJOY thought he had a better chance of remaining in the Moncloa Palace by pressuring the Zarzuela Palace into calling new elections immediately after he declined to try to form a government.
The last thing Rajoy expected or wanted was Felipe’s insistence on respecting the Constitution by inviting Pedro Sanchez, the next most-voted candidate, to give it a shot.
“This wouldn’t have happened with his father,” the Partido Popular hierarchy allegedly muttered in private but as the king was well aware, this was not a matter of personality but legality.
So instead of playing it by ear, he did it by the book.