Spain has moved closer to having to call its third election in a year after the country’s acting premier was denied a second term in office.
Mariano Rajoy of the centre-right People’s Party lost a parliamentary confidence vote receiving 170 of the 176 needed to form a government.
The opposition Socialists led a wave of party leaders voting against him including the austerity alliance Unidos Podemos.
Those who voted in favour of a second term for Rajoy included the anti-corruption Ciudadanos (Citizens) party and a small party from the Canary Islands.
Rajoy now faces a second vote on Friday (Sept 2) in which a simple majority is needed. But this would require one or more of the other parties to abstain.
But many view Rajoy as being tarnished by a long series of corruption scandals involving his party and unpopular austerity policies.
If he loses Friday’s vote, Rajoy has two months to try to form a government, before triggering another election which could then fall on Christmas Day.