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Basque party paves the way for ousting Rajoy

EAJ-PNV will back motion of no-confidence; pro-independence parties vote to be decisive

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31 May 2018 03:55 PM

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ACN | Madrid

The Basque Nationalist party (EAJ-PNV) will vote in favor of ousting Spanish president Mariano Rajoy, thus paving the way for an alternative government by the Socialist party following a motion of no-confidence to be voted in parliament on Friday—that is, if Catalan pro-independence parties decide to back the vote, too.

Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez pledged to vote Rajoy out after Spain’s ruling People’s Party (PP) was convicted last week in the so-called Gürtel case, a major corruption scandal involving kickbacks-for-contracts.

In his parliamentary speech on Thursday, Sánchez promised to maintain Rajoy’s budget if he dethrones him as the head of government. Passed with the votes of EAJ-PNV, the budget included €570 million in public spending for the Basque country.

Despite voting against the budget last week, Sánchez said that maintaining Rajoy's financial plan was the most responsible course of action—something that many saw as a wink to the Basque party.

For a second time in a bit more than a week, the Spanish government has been hanging by a thread, with EAJ-PNV being the ones deciding whether to cut it or not. This time, though, Basque nationalists decided to precipitate Rajoy's fall.

Pro-independence ERC and PDeCAT parties will make a final decision on their vote after hearing Sánchez's response on Thursday afternoon. While ERC has repeatedly expressed its willingness to vote Rajoy out, PDeCAT has been more hesitant about backing the Socialists' motion.

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  • EAJ-PNV MPs Aitor Esteban (left) and Mikel Legarda (by ACN)

  • EAJ-PNV MPs Aitor Esteban (left) and Mikel Legarda (by ACN)