Spain is set to get its first real government in 10 months.
Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has accepted a mandate from King Felipe to seek parliament’s backing for a new administration, thus avoiding a third general election.
His conservative Popular Party came first in two inconclusive polls in December and June but fell short of a majority. Now though, the opposition Socialists say they will enable him to lead a minority government.
“There is no agreement between the Popular Party and the Socialist Party,” Rajoy said on Tuesday, after the
Socialists opted to abstain in the forthcoming confidence vote rather than keep blocking his bid for a second term.
“I am fully aware of the difficulties that governing in minority entails. But if anyone thought for a moment that my party or myself would be tempted to abandon our responsibility with Spain in favour of opportunistic alliances, they have got it totally wrong.”
Still reeling from in-fighting over their stance in parliament, the Socialists are now looking for a new leader. But interim head Javier Fernandez has warned he won’t make things easy for the new team at the top.
“In no event,” he said “do we plan on giving stability to Rajoy’s government or approving its budgets.”
Parliament will begin a confidence debate on Wednesday evening. The vote itself is expected on Thursday, when Rajoy will need a green light from a majority of deputies to stay in power.
If he fails to achieve a majority, a second vote would be called 48 hours later in which parties can abstain, opening the door for the Socialists to enable a Rajoy-led minority government. That is likely at the weekend.