Christmas election likely as Rajoy loses first confidence vote

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© Congreso de los Diputados.
Mariano Rajoy in the Cortes.

AS expected, Mariano Rajoy lost the first vote of confidence in his parliamentary leadership after the Socialist PSOE voted against reinstalling Spain’s acting prime minister. 

Backed by Ciudadanos, his own Partido Popular (PP), and a solitary representative from the Canaries, Rajoy secured 170 of the 176 votes needed to win a majority in the 250 member legislature. 

All members voted rather than some abstaining, as was hoped by Rajoy’s supporters, meaning that 180 cast their ballots against the PP leader. A second attempt will take place tomorrow September 2 when Rajoy will not need a majority but simply more votes for than against him. 

Unless there is a change of heart among the Socialist leadership, or a revolt within their ranks, the second vote seems certain to reap the same result and send Spain careering towards a third general election, scheduled for Christmas Day.

 Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez has told parliament that he will remain steadfast in his refusal to support Rajoy, stating that he can’t back what he seeks to change and that the acting prime minister has no political credibility.

 During the debate Rajoy sought to portray Sanchez as the chief villain behind the election cycle pantomime.

“I ask you to let us govern,” Mr. Rajoy said to Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez. “Don’t block us and don’t lead us to a third round of elections.”

A well prepared Sanchez responded angrily, denouncing the confidence vote as “the chronicle of a failure foretold.”

“Your government is a lethal combination of corruption, mismanagement and inequality,” he continued. 

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