31 Aug, 2023 @ 09:17
1 min read

Socialists reject Popular Party’s proposal to end political stalemate in Spain

Dates revealed for parliamentary votes to make Partido Popular's Alberto Nuñez Feijoo Spain's new prime minister
Alberto Núñez Feijoo, leader of the Popular Party (PP) and candidate for the presidency of Spain delivers a speech during the closing political act of the Popular Party (PP) in Madrid for the general elections in Spain. The general elections for the presidency of Spain will take place on July 23, 2023. (Photo by Luis Soto / SOPA Images/Sipa USA) *** Local Caption *** 47418669

THE SOCIALIST PARTY on Wednesday rejected outright a proposal from the conservative Popular Party for a two-year government headed up by its leader, Alberto Nuñez Fejioo. The Galician politician presented a plan to caretaker prime minister Pedro Sanchez yesterday, in a bid to end the deadlock caused by the inconclusive July 23 general election.

The two leaders of Spain’s main political parties held a meeting that barely lasted an hour on Wednesday, at which Feijoo requested the Socialists’ support at an upcoming investiture debate in Congress where he is the candidate for prime minister. 

Feijoo also presented six proposed cross-party pacts that he wants to pass should he be voted into power by lawmakers, and for which he requested the support of Sanchez’s party. 

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’.

Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says he will seek parliamentary majority in Spain's Congress
Pedro Sanchez. Cordon Press image

His aim, he made clear after the meeting during a press conference, was to avoid the influence of nationalist and pro-Catalan independence parties. These groups are needed by Sanchez if he is to get back into power. 

“The PP has tried to convince us to repeal sanchismo,” said Socialist spokesperson Pilar Alegria on Wednesday, in reference to the name given to Sanchez’s policies and governing style. “But they lacked persuasion,” she added sarcastically. 

The July 23 general election saw the PP win the most votes, 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. 

Doomed to fail

Since then, Feijoo has only managed to find support from two smaller parties, each of which has 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 at the September 26-27 investiture debate 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. 

If Feijoo is unsuccessful at the debate, it will fall to King Felipe VI to decide whether to present Sanchez as a candidate. If the stalemate continues, Spain could be facing a repeat general election in the new year.

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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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