30 Aug, 2023 @ 12:47
2 mins read

Spain’s Popular Party makes offer of two-year term in office to Socialists in bid to break political deadlock

Pedro Sanchez and Alberto Nuñez Feijoo
Cordon Press

THE LEADER of Spain’s conservative Popular Party (PP), Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, on Wednesday made an offer to caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez of the Socialist Party in a bid to break the political deadlock caused by the inconclusive July 23 general election.

At a brief meeting that lasted less than an hour, Feijoo laid out his plans were he to be voted in as prime minister at an investiture vote in the Congress of Deputies, Spain’s lower house of parliament. 

Among these plans is a commitment to a two-year term in office instead of the regular four years, after which fresh elections would be called. The PP chief also proposed six cross-party pacts that he would like to see voted into force with the support of the Socialists during said term. 

Among these pacts are plans for ‘the democratic regeneration of the institutions, the welfare state, economic consolidation, policies for families, public services such as water, and the territorial model’. 

In exchange, Feijoo is calling on Sanchez to support his candidacy as prime minister at an upcoming investiture vote, which will take place on September 26 and 27. Should Feijoo’s bid for power fail at the session in Congress, Spain will take a step closer to a repeat election in the new year. 

The July 23 general election saw the PP win the most seats in Congress, but fall well short of a majority of 176 seats in the 350-seat chamber. Defying the predictions of the opinion polls, not even the PP and far-right Vox secured enough seats together for a majority. 

Since then, Feijoo has only managed to find support from two smaller parties, each of which have lent one vote each to his candidacy. Even with the votes from Vox, that still leaves him four votes short of an absolute majority, meaning that his bid for power is likely doomed to fail. 

That is why the Galician politician has turned to the Socialists, making use of the argument that as the most-voted party, the PP should be in power during the upcoming legislature. 

What’s more, Feijoo argued today during his meeting with Sanchez that such an arrangement would avoid leaving ‘Spain in the hands of the pro-independence parties’. 

He was referring to groups such as Together for Catalunya, which is in favour of independence for the northeastern region and is demanding serious concessions for its cause from Sanchez if it is to support his bid to be voted back into office. 

During the previous term in office, the Socialist Party was governing in a minority in coalition with leftist Unidas Podemos, relying on the support of smaller groups – including nationalist and pro-independence parties – to pass legislation. 

Despite also having fallen well short of a majority, even with the support of new leftist alliance Sumar (which absorbed Unidas Podemos, among other parties), Sanchez has stated that he is convinced he will have enough votes to be successful at an investiture vote should King Felipe VI propose him as a candidate should Feijoo’s bid for power fail.

After the meeting this morning, Sanchez travelled to the Socialist Party headquarters in central Madrid to discuss the proposals with the group’s executive committee.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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