Spain’s Socialist Party has voted to abstain in crucial confidence vote, effectively enabling their conservative rivals to form a minority government and ending ten months of political deadlock.
The vote clears the way for Mariano Rajoy to become prime minister and avoids the need for Spain to hold another general election, which would have been the third in under a year.
By abstaining from voting against Mariano Rajoy and his Popular Party in a confidence vote in Parliament, the Socialists have given tacit permission for Rajoy to lead the government.
139 party members voted in favour of abstaining, 96 voted against and two abstained.
Make or break
With just under two weeks to go until a deadline to form a government, the Socialist decision was seen as a make-or-break situation.
The party has been bitterly divided on the issue.
The opposition Socialists met for talks on a deal with the governing Conservatives.
Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez left earlier this month after he opposed the deal with Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party.
A second election in June failed to resolve the situation.
What they are saying
“I don’t think its shameful, abstention does not mean support. The Socialist Party has come to this conclusion after a deep internal debate and in very difficult circumstances, given the lack of government in the country,” – PSOE vote chairman Javier Fernández.