Basque Nationalist Party party confirmed it will vote against Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in a no-confidence motion.
The Leader of the Basque Group in the Spanish Parliament, Aitor Esteban, said they believed they were answering to the majority of demands from the Basque community by voting yes — a move that almost certainly removes Rajoy from office.
Spain's lower house is currently debating a motion filed by the main opposition Socialist Party (PSOE), which is looking to unseat Rajoy and replace him with their leader Pedro Sanchez.
Support from Basque PNV gives Sanchez 180 votes in parliament to become prime minister — more than the absolute majority of 176 votes he needs to take power immediately if the no-confidence vote is held on Friday as scheduled.
Rajoy's departure would probably trigger a second political crisis in southern Europe, after Italy's political deadlock.
It is not clear whether Rajoy could resign before the vote takes place on Friday. If he doesn't he would become the first Spanish Prime Minister to lose a no-confidence vote.
If he resigns, his government — the People's Party — would go into caretaker mode until a new prime minister is sworn in, which could take months. If the vote goes ahead and he loses, Sanchez would immediately replace him.
During the no-confidence motion, Sanchez urged Rajoy to quit before the vote on Friday: "Resign today and this no-confidence motion would be over today."
The debate is scheduled to run throughout Thursday and deputies will vote whether to keep or replace Rajoy on Friday.
Reactions to Rajoy's absence at parliament on Thursday's afternoon
Memes have started surfacing on Spanish Twitter mocking Rajoy's absence at parliament on Thursday's afternoon, while the lower house debates a no-confidence motion that could remove him as prime minister.
Rajoy a brutal lack of elegance and responsibility, has left Congress while they debate the no-confidence motion. I'm guessing that there are other things more important for him right now.
Rajoy has gone to Hogwarts and transformed himself into a bag.