• Socialists say they won’t support or abstain from voting against Rajoy
• Conservative PP best placed to assemble coalition to form next government
Despite repeated hints coming from acting-Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) that he would welcome an abstention vote from the Socialist party (PSOE) in his bid to lead the next government, the PSOE leadership continues to stick doggedly to its assertion that the Socialists will not support a PP government, neither actively with a vote in favor or passively through an abstention.
The Socialists will undoubtedly leave Rajoy to make the first attempt to lead the next government, given that any combination of political parties put together by the PSOE involve “red-line” obstacles to a left-wing, progressive coalition: the centre-right Ciudadanos party and the left-wing Unidos Podemos coalition refuse to work together in a PSOE-led coalition and going it alone with Unidos Podemos would entail the PSOE’s making a deal with Catalan pro-independence parties, back-tracking on its pledge to the electorate not to seek support from nationalist parties that favor secession from Spain.
Barring abstention from the Socialists that would allow Rajoy to become the next prime minister on the first investiture vote once Congress has reconvened in mid-July, Rajoy’s best option appears to be a coalition with centre-right Ciudadanos, the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV-EAJ) and the Canary Islands’ Coalición Canarias and Nuevas Canarias coalitions, which would put him beyond the veto of votes by other parties against his candidacy.
One big sticking point remains, however: Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera is also insistent that while he may strike a deal with the PP, Rajoy would have to go and be replaced by a party leader less tainted with the political corruption that plagued the Rajoy administration of the past four years.