Spain’s So­cial­ists vote to end po­lit­i­cal im­passe

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Spain’s So­cial­ist party voted yes­ter­day to stop block­ing the con­ser­va­tive Pop­u­lar Party from form­ing a mi­nor­ity govern­ment, set­ting the stage to end the coun­try’s nearly 10-month po­lit­i­cal im­passe.

Mem­bers of the So­cial­ists’ fed­eral com­mit­tee an­nounced af­ter a meet­ing that they would ab­stain from vot­ing against act­ing Prime Min­is­ter Mar­i­ano Ra­joy dur­ing a con­fi­dence vote in Par­lia­ment.

The com­mit­tee voted 139 to 96 in favour of the ab­sten­tion, a de­ci­sion that should pre­vent a third elec­tion.

Two in­con­clu­sive elec­tions since last De­cem­ber have left Ra­joy in charge of a care­taker govern­ment. His Pop­u­lar Party won both elec­tions, but not enough seats to form a ma­jor­ity in Par­lia­ment.

Ra­joy has the sup­port of 170 law­mak­ers in the 350-seat na­tional par­lia­ment — 137 of them from his own party — but he needs other par­ties’ votes, or ab­sten­tions, if he is to form a govern­ment.

He needs just 11 ab­sten­tions from the so­cial­ists to reach the thresh­old that would al­low him to do that.

Javier Fer­nan­dez, who took over as tem­po­rary So­cial­ist leader fol­low­ing the week­end res­ig­na­tion of Pe­dro Sanchez, said yes­ter­day the party would “show its to­tal re­jec­tion for Pop­u­lar Party poli­cies” on the first vote by vot­ing no dur­ing the con­fi­dence vote, but would ab­stain on the sec­ond tally, al­low­ing Ra­joy to govern.

Spain has been led for decades by ei­ther the con­ser­va­tives or the so­cial­ists and has never had a coali­tion govern­ment.

The So­cial­ist party re­mained bit­terly di­vided on the is­sue. Sup­port­ers of the ab­sten­tion claimed a third elec­tion could be dis­as­trous for the party, which suf­fered its worst-ever re­sults in an elec­tion in June.

De­trac­tors of the ab­sten­tion said the de­ci­sion would fur­ther alien­ate the party’s sup­port­ers.

Scores of pro­tes­tors de­fied con­stant rains yes­ter­day to gather out­side the party’s head­quar­ters, say­ing they felt be­trayed by the fed­eral com­mit­tee’s de­ci­sion.

Miquel Ic­eta, the leader of the party’s Cata­lan fac­tion, has said its seven deputies will vote against Ra­joy de­spite the com­mit­tee’s plans.

The new­comer left­ist Pode­mos party has said it hopes to profit from the So­cial­ists’ sur­ren­der to be­come the lead­ing op­po­si­tion party.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.