Due to a lack of sufficient support, the leader of the Spanish right, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, saw on Wednesday 27 September, as expected, Parliament reject his candidacy for the post of Prime Minister. This failure launches a two-month countdown to the calling of new general elections.
Two months during which the outgoing head of government, the socialist Pedro Sánchez, who has proved his ability to survive politically in recent years, will be able to try in turn to win the confidence of Parliament to be re-elected to power. Coming out ahead in the legislative elections of July 23, which did not allow to achieve a clear majority, Mr. Feijóo won Wednesday 172 votes, those of the deputies of his Popular Party (PP), the far-right party Vox and two small parties. However he had to win the support of the absolute majority of the Chamber of Deputies to be sworn in, i.e. 176 votes out of 350.
Second vote on Friday
Charged by King Felipe VI to try to form a government, the leader of the PP will submit Friday to a second vote, where a simple majority would suffice. But, barring an unlikely dramatic move, he will not be able to win either while 178 MPs voted Wednesday against his candidacy. Aware of his coming failure, Alberto Núñez Feijóo spent most of the investiture session, which opened on Tuesday, attacking Pedro Sánchez and the Catalan separatists on whom the possible renewal of the socialist depends on the eventual re-election to power.
Assuring to defend the "general interest" and "the equality of all Spaniards", he accused his socialist rival, who did not speak in the hemicycle, of giving in to the "blackmail of those who do not believe in our country". On Tuesday, he had already criticized the fact that the possible re-election of Mr. Sánchez would depend only "on what (Carles) Puigdemont wants or not", leader of the attempted secession of Catalonia in 2017, hated by the right. Kingmakers in a very fragmented Parliament, Carles Puigdemont and the seven deputies of his party are demanding amnesty for Catalan separatists prosecuted by the Spanish justice in exchange for their support. A direct attack on the essential democratic values of our country" and "blackmail", according to Mr. Feijóo.
Perilous negotiations for Sánchez
Beyond the fierce opposition of the right, which mobilized tens of thousands of people Sunday in the center of Madrid, this possible amnesty arouses the discomfort of some members of the Socialist Party, a formation that categorically rejected such an idea in the past. Perilous negotiations are therefore looming for Mr. Sánchez, who will have to find a formula that satisfies the separatists without triggering a revolt within his party. Optimistic about his re-election to power, the prime minister, who has already pardoned in 2021 the separatists sentenced to prison for the events of 2017, has not said anything publicly about this amnesty but promised to be "consistent with the policy of return to normal" in Catalonia that he has applied since coming to power in 2018.