• Rajoy investiture bid failed Friday in second 170-180 vote in Congress
• Sánchez called for consensus among ‘forces of change’ to block Rajoy and PP
As acting-Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s bid to form Spain’s next government went down to defeat in a second 170-180 vote in Congress on Friday evening, Socialist party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez stole the next day’s headlines with a pledge made during his intervention (see video, below) that the Socialists would again attempt to reach a consensus among the “forces of change” to enable formation of an alternative centre-left government. Such a move would block Rajoy’s conservative Partido Popular (PP) from power and avert an otherwise inevitable third general election in late December.
Rajoy’s second defeat within 48 hours in confidence votes on his candidacy to lead the next government came amid harsh words for Rajoy and his party from centre-right Ciudadanos party leader Albert Rivera. Ciudadanos’ 32 Deputies in Congress, Rivera said, would honor their commitment to vote for Rajoy only in an attempt to install a working government “for the good of Spain,” but Rivera told the PP that were it to attempt to make another run at forming the next government it would need to come up with another candidate as Ciudadanos will not support Rajoy another time.
Sánchez, whose own investiture bid in March failed in the aftermath of Spain’s inconclusive December 2015 general election, seemed purposely vague about what he might propose to Ciudadanos and to leftwing coalition Unidos Podemos, both generally understood in in Socialist parlance to be part of the broad movement for political change in Spain that the Socialists see themselves as leading. Ciudadanos voted in favor of the March investiture bid by Sanchez, while Podemos (We Can) and its regionally allies voted against.
On Saturday, Sánchez reiterated his comments during a campaign appearance in Galicia in advance of 25th September regional elections there, calling on the “forces of change” to come together to reach a consensus to block a second Rajoy term in office. Following a Monday executive meeting of the PSOE’s Federal Committee, Sánchez said, he will be contacting both Ciudadanos leader Rivera and Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias to discuss how to move forward together.