PP-PDC pact relieves PSOE from pressure to abstain

Socialist party leader Pedro Sánchez in Congress on 19th July. Photo: Alberto Di Lolli / El Mundo
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• Socialists now can vote ‘No’ on Rajoy, freed from abstaining on investiture bid
• Rajoy may now attempt election with Ciudadanos, nationalist parties’ support

Spain’s Socialist party (PSOE) has paradoxically expressed relief over the secret vote barter deal whereby the conservative Partido Popular (PP) effectively won control the executive Mesa of the new Congress with support from regional nationalist parties, including Catalonia’s new Partit Demòcrata Català (PDC, formerly Convergència), because a pact between the PP and nationalists relieves the PSOE from mounting pressure to abstain on a Rajoy investiture vote in order to spare Spaniards the agony of a third general election in twelve months.

Francesc Homs of the PDC, which under the leadership of former Catalan President Artur Mas had been at odds with Rajoy’s PP for most of the past five years over issues of regional financing and Catalan independence, refused to confirm following Monday’s vote that any PDC deputies’ votes formed part of a crucial 10-vote margin enabling the PP to secure both the presidency of Congress’s executive Mesa and its third vice-presidency. But, both the PSOE and anti-austerity party Podemos have said there is no way that Rajoy could have garnered the number of votes needed in the secret balloting without the support of both the PDC and the Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV).

Tuesday’s vote on formation of the Mesa showed the PP’s ability to negotiate agreement with the nationalists, thereby demonstrating that Rajoy will likely attempt his investiture with the support of centre-right Ciudadanos, the PDC, PNV and Canary Islands regional Coalición Canaria. That scenario relieves the Socialists from abstaining on the investiture vote and allows them to register a principled ‘No’ vote against Rajoy, setting themselves up for a second try at forming a government should Rajoy fail in his investiture bid or occupying the position of lead left-wing opposition party in Congress should Rajoy succeed.

► Read More in Spanish at El Mundo and El País …

► Read More in English at El País and Reuters …

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