Is Spain headed for a third election in a year? It is crunch time for acting prime minister Mariano Rajoy, as he faces a confidence vote in parliament.
His centre-right People’s Party (PP) needs the backing of the Socialists to reach a majority and form a government, but they are not playing ball.
Spain has been in political limbo since inconclusive elections in December and then again in June.
Pedro Sanchez, Socialist Party leader, told the parliament: “Since the 20th of December, not the 26th of June, the news is that for the first time in the history of our democracy, the candidate of the first political force is incapable of obtaining the backing needed to win a vote of confidence and guarantee the country’s governance – and that failure, Mr Rajoy, is exclusively yours.”
Spain’s eight month political impasse has stalled investment and may hit its strong economic recovery.
Rajoy says he has heard the Socialists.
“I have understood every part of your ‘no,’ all this no, no, no, and, what part of ‘no’ have I not understood? I understand it, so relax, ay?” he told parliament.
If Rajoy loses the vote, as expected, there will be a second one on Friday.
A simple majority would then be enough for him to form a PP-led minority government. He would need just 11 abstentions to win.