Rajoy prayingTHE three opposition parties, which have taken comfortable leads in the polls for the December 20 general election, have made it clear over the past few weeks that they don’t want Mariano Rajoy to stay on as prime minister.

This is the case, even though his Popular Party (PP) may get by with a majority seats in parliament but still short of forming a government.

The Socialists and Ciudadanos have made significant gains in voter intention surveys taken over the last few weeks.

Podemos is trailing along but still mustering enough support to perhaps become the fourth political force during the next legislative term.

As they accept their standings, the leaders of the three opposition parties have already been hinting about possible pacts to derail Rajoy’s ambitions to serve a second term.

In recent days, Pablo Iglesias, of the anti-establishment Podemos grouping, even alluded to a plot the PP and the Socialists are allegedly concocting.

They would form a pact on the basis of allowing deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría to take over Rajoy’s job and thus keeping the bipartisan system intact.

Iglesias has called it Operation Menina, in reference to the great Velázquez painting of King Felipe IV’s family, which highlights his short-statured daughter, the Menina.

Rajoy has gone even further, saying that a three-way agreement between the Socialists, Ciudadanos and Podemos to edge him out would be devastating for Spain.

The prime minister reiterated over the weekend that he won’t try to form a government if the PP doesn’t win a clear majority.

The problem with any type of political pact is fragility – these agreements are not permanently plastered in cement but instead with just enough gunk that can easily be unglued at the signs of any type of friction.

Although different in their outlooks for Spain’s future, the Socialists, Podemos and Ciudadanos have one thing in common: their three leaders all want to be prime minister should they hammer out a political agreement following the elections.

No doubt this will be the first entanglement of the new year.

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