THE SOUTHEASTERN region of Murcia took a step closer to a repeat election on Monday, after hard-right Vox failed to support the conservative Popular Party (PP) at a second investiture vote. The result, which saw PP candidate for regional premier Fernando Lopez Miras fall short of the simple majority he needed, was identical to the first failed vote.
At the May 28 regional elections, the PP took 21 seats, falling two short of the 23 needed for an absolute majority. Vox, meanwhile, took nine seats, meaning that together the parties have more than enough for an ample majority of 30 seats.
The Socialist Party, meanwhile, won 13 seats in the 45-seat chamber, and a leftist bloc led by Podemos took two.
After the failed vote, Lopez Miras took aim at the other parties in the regional assembly for failing to abstain and allow the most-voted party, i.e. the PP, from forming a government.
“No one will understand a deadlock where the protagonists are the left, the Socialist Party, Podemos, and also Vox,” he said.
He blamed their behaviour on their ambitions to hold positions in a future regional administration.
This was, in fact, later confirmed by the regional spokesperson for Vox, who told news agency Europa Press that the hard-right party had demanded the vice-premiership of the region, two departments, and a commitment to overturning a law that protects the Mar Menor saltwater lagoon.
The PP rejected the demands, making clear that there would be no step backward when it comes to protecting the Mar Menor, whose ecosystem has been badly damaged by pollution from farming.
Vox, meanwhile, claimed that the PP was refusing to cave to its demands because of the election debate that will be held tonight at 10pm on the Atresmedia network. At the debate, Socialist Party Prime Minister and Popular Party leader Alberto Nuñez Feijoo will face one another for the only time during the ongoing campaign ahead of the July 23 general election.
The hard-right party claimed on Monday that the Murcia PP was refusing to do a deal so that Feijoo will be able to cite the episode as an example of his party keeping its distance from Vox.
Feijoo is expected to only be able to form a government and become prime minister if he goes into a coalition deal with Vox after the elections. The two parties have already done hundreds of deals in local councils and regions such as Valencia and Extremadura since the May 28 polls.
Whatever the motivations of each party for the current impasse in Murcia, there will now be a two-month period when a new candidate can be put forward as regional premier. Once that time period elapses, a fresh election will be called.
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