• Podemos call for censure motion in Congress knocked back by other parties
•PSOE’s Pedro Sánchez again calls on Rajoy to step down ‘out of decency’
Former Socialist party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez has joined the call for embattled Spanish President Mariano Rajoy to resign over corruption charges during his tenure as secretary-general of the governing conservative Partido Popular (PP), but has fallen short of endorsing last week’s call for a censure motion advanced in Congress by the PSOE’s leftwing rival, anti-austerity party Podemos.
The call by Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias for a formal motion of censure in Congress was immediately met with disdain by other opposition parties, including PSOE, centre-right Ciudadanos and the Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV), who all said the likelihood of its passage was nil and the move amounted to grandstanding on Iglesias’ part. A censure motion requires majority support in the Congress of Deputies to become successful and requires one of the opposition parties to put forward a candidate to replace the sitting prime minister.
The PSOE’s interim caretaker committee rejected the Podemos motion outright, but that has not deterred Iglesias. In what is seen by some as part of a Podemos campaign to paint the PSOE as aligned with the PP, leaving Podemos to be perceived as the only real leftwing opposition in Congress, Iglesias on Monday sent a letter to the Socialist leadership asking them to reconsider their position and join the call to censure Rajoy.
Sánchez, meanwhile, has echoed his controversial comments during a face-to-face televised election campaign debate with Rajoy, saying during a campaign stop over the weekend that Rajoy should step down “out of decency.” In the nationally televised debate last year, a visibly upset Sánchez told the Spanish president he was not a decent person or he would have already resigned over the ongoing investigation into the Bárcenas corruption case, involving kickbacks to finance the governing party and accounting fraud under the direction of former PP Treasurer Luis Bárcenas.