PSOE edges toward abstention to enable Rajoy gov’t

PSOE's Fernández (center), with caretaker committee members Mario Jiménez (right), Ascensión Godoy. Photo: EFE / El Mundo
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• Socialist’s Fernández avoids meeting of all regional leaders over Rajoy vote
• Secret ballot at 23rd October Federal Committee meeting will decide abstention

Javier Fernández, the interim caretaker administrator of Spain’s Socialist party (PSOE), and the party’s new spokesman Mario Jiménez, confidant of Andalucian Socialist party leader Susana Díaz, are said to be quickly moving the PSOE towards abstention in an anticipated 30th October vote in Congress that would enable acting-Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) to form a new government.

According to Spanish news media reports, Fernández avoided a meeting this week with the full Federal Political Council of regional PSOE leaders, a majority of whom are said to be against the abstention that would enable a Rajoy government for the next four years, instead opting to meet individually with the regional leaders so as to avoid a vote on the matter.

At the same time, Fernández has broken with the stance of ousted PSOE General Secretary Pedro Sánchez of public condemnation of Rajoy’s party over the multiple corruption cases currently dogging the PP in various Spanish courtrooms, saying in a televised interview this week that the PSOE should not take the corruption issue into account in deciding whether or not to return a Rajoy government to power.

The PSOE caretaker has also reiterated that despite calls from some regional PSOE leaders, he will not allow the abstention issue be put to a direct vote of the party’s 180,000 members. Instead, the final decision will be made in a secret ballot during a 23rd October meeting of the PSOE’s 350-member Federal Committee, which is seen as likely to approve the abstention vote on Rajoy in order to avoid going to a third round general election.

► Read More in Spanish at El Mundo and La Vanguardia …

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