MARIANO Rajoy is back in the hotseat as Spanish prime minister after 10 months of public spats, resignations, two elections and a political circus that shone a harsh spotlight on the nation’s broken democracy.
A second investiture vote on Saturday October 29 saw Rajoy win the support of 170 MPs from his own Popular Party together with Ciudadanos and the Canaries coalition. With the PSOE largely abstaining, with the exception of 15 rebels who defied the party whip, that was sufficient to win him control of the 350 member parliament.
Thousands of protesters gathered outside as the vote was called, fearful of a return to neoliberal austerity policies, conservatism and denouncing his government as illegitimate given he failed to secure a majority.
Rajoy will be sworn in officially on Sunday by King Felipe and told press: “We’re going to try to look for agreement and understanding with everyone”.
“I’m happy because even though we received less support than in 2011, a majority of Spaniards have continued to trust the People’s party, which has had to govern in the most difficult times.”
Former PSOE leader Pedro Sanchez, who was effectively ousted in an internal coup for his refusal to enable Rajoy to form a government, resigned his seat shortly before the vote, but pledged to return to the grassroots on Monday to help rebuild the party.
With the 111 MPs who voted against Rajoy mostly coming from Podemos, the PSOE has a real battle on its hands if it wants to continue being seen as the official opposition, or may soon cede that role to the insurgents.