Third vote looms as opposition blocks deal
SPAIN’S main opposition Socialist party has refused to back Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s efforts to form a minority government, pushing the country closer to its third general election in a year.
Spain has been without a government for eight months following two inconclusive elections. Mr Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party (PP) has won both ballots but failed to reach an absolute majority.
Mr Rajoy on August 28 clinched a deal with the upstart Ciudadanos, a liberal party, to support him in this week’s confidence vote but still needs the backing of the Socialist party to prevent a third round of elections.
With Ciudadanos’ support and the vote of a deputy from the Canary Islands, Mr Rajoy has secured 170 votes in the 350-seat lower house, six short of the majority needed in today’s vote to form a government.
In a second confidence vote to take place on September 2, Mr Rajoy only needs a simple majority but for that he would need the Socialists to abstain.
If there is no breakthrough two months after today’s parliamentary ballot, vote-weary Spaniards will be asked to return to the polls on December 25. –