Monday

23rd Apr 2018

Spain still far from having a government

  • The Spanish Congress of Deputies. Acting PM Mariano Rajoy is struggling to find a majority. (Photo: PP/Flickr)

Spain is likely to face a third general election in little over a year after acting prime minister Mariano Rajoy failed to win parliamentary vote on Wednesday (31 August) that would have allowed him to form a government.

Rajoy gathered the votes of 170 MPs, from his conservative Popular Party (PP), his new liberal ally Ciudadanos (Citizens) and a small party from the Canary Islands. He needed the backing of 176 MPs to form a government.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

A second vote will be held on Friday, where Rajoy will need only more yes votes that no votes.

Radical left-wing Podemos and smaller regional parties have ruled out giving any support to Rajoy, even through abstaining.

As a result, all eyes are on the Socialist Party (PSOE), the main opposition party. If the socialists abstain, Rajoy could form a minority government.

Its leader Pedro Sanchez has faced calls to "show responsibility" and break the political deadlock that has rumbled on through inconclusive elections in December and June.

But barring a dramatic change of heart from Sanchez, his 85 MPs will vote no again on Friday.

He said on Wednesday that his party would "not give in" and would vote no again.

"You said you needed the socialists to govern and Ciudadanos for the investiture. That is a government without opposition and that would be a term of blackmail," he told Rajoy in speech in parliament.

"We cannot support your blackmail, but denounce it."

On Tuesday, Rajoy had said that Spain needed a government "as fast as possible. If we don’t, things could turn bad and get worse".

If he loses again on Friday, Rajoy will still have almost two months to try to form a government.

Some PP officials hope that the Basque Nationalist Party, a Christian Democrat party with five MPs, might be willing to support Rajoy once the campaign for the Basque regional elections on 25 September is over.

In that case Rajoy would still be short of one vote in parliament.

Meanwhile, Podemos (We Can) along with smaller parties from Catalonia and Valencia are calling on Sanchez to form an alternative coalition. Together, PSOE and Podemos have 156 MPs and would need allies to get a majority.

If no government is formed within two months, a new election will be called on Christmas Day, or just before if a special law is voted to change the election calendar.

Spain braces for Christmas election

Acting PM Rajoy's failure to form a government last week makes another general election ever more likely. But a Basque regional party might offer support that would push him closer to a national majority.

Analysis

New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability

The EU's latest funding rules for European political parties and their think tanks fails to address the underlying problems of abuse. Instead of tackling the loans and donations culture, it has simply made access to EU funds a lot easier.

MEPs set limits to Macron's ambitions

The French president tried to woo the European Parliament but found that his quest for leadership will have to abide by the rules set by the European political groups.

Analysis

Macron relaunches his bid for EU leadership

In a speech to the European Parliament on Tuesday and then at a meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday, the French president will try to get support for his EU reform proposals.

Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study

On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote on a political deal on organic farming, following 19 months of behind-closed-doors negotiations. EUobserver here details a five-month odyssey to get access to the secret documents that led to the deal.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  2. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  3. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  4. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  5. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  6. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  7. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  8. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists