• Rajoy tells parties only he can unify Spain, avert economic and political crisis
• Cold reception from parties tanks investiture hopes for Partido Popular leader
A full month after accepting King Felipe VI’s charge to attempt to form a new government and with a minimal accord signed with centre-right Ciudadanos party under his belt, on Tuesday conservative Partido Popular (PP) leader Mariano Rajoy launched his bid to return his party to government with a speech that was met with a lukewarm reception from key parties in Congress and outright hostility from others.
Positioning himself as the sole political leader who could avert an economic and political crisis caused by Spain’s ongoing inability to form a new government, and repeatedly harkening to the need to ensure a “unified” Spain in the face of nationalist sentiment and secessionist threats in Catalonia, Rajoy’s speech kicked off a process that includes a daylong debate today and first-round vote on his candidacy in Congress this evening.
The absolute ‘No’ to Rajoy’s candidacy repeatedly iterated over the past month by Socialist party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez, along with outright rejection of Rajoy’s speech from other key parties, is expected to ensure that the PP leader and acting-Prime Minister will fail in this initial investiture bid, both in first-round voting this evening and a second round on Friday.
The clock is now ticking for Spain’s political parties, which have 60 days to put together a formula — led either by Rajoy or by Sanchez — that can sway other political parties to lend their support and votes to the formation of a new government. If no candidate succeeds by 31st October, King Felipe must again dissolve the Spanish parliament and a third general election must be held no later than 25th December.