Vote of no confidence to oust Rajoy underway

Pro-independence parties crucial for the initiative to succeed

The Socialist leader, Pedro Sánchez, outside the Spanish Congress with some Socialist MPs on May 31, 2018 (by Javier Barbancho)
The Socialist leader, Pedro Sánchez, outside the Spanish Congress with some Socialist MPs on May 31, 2018 (by Javier Barbancho) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 31, 2018 09:53 AM

Mariano Rajoy could be ousted from Spain’s presidency as soon as this Friday. The Spanish president who confronted the furthest-reaching push for an independent Catalonia last autumn by removing the Catalan government could be himself removed from the Spanish executive if a motion of no confidence against him succeeds. The debate started on Thursday morning and will be voted on Friday by noon. The Spanish Socialists launched the initiative after a verdict for the 'Gürtel' corruption case affecting Spain’s ruling People’s Party.

Will the vote of no confidence succeed? 

Whether the motion will be successful or not still has no clear answer. At least 176 out of 350 MPs in the Spanish Congress have to vote in favor of the motion for it to pass. It is expected that at least 155 lawmakers will say Yes, including the Socialists (84), the leftwing Unidos Podemos (67) and Valencian Podemos allies Compromís (4). Unidos Podemos include 12 Catalan MPs in the En Comú Podem candidacy, non-aligned with the Catalan independence debate. Their members are having their say on the issue in an internal vote taking place on Thursday by 6pm, but a landslide Yes is expected.  

All down to pro-independence parties and Basque EAJ-PNV

With unionist Ciutadans –which includes 5 Catalan MPs– against it, the Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez bid can still succeed – with the support of Catalan pro-independence parties  (17 MPs altogether) and Basque nationalists (5 MPs). Thus far, they have not unveiled their stance on the matter.  The Esquerra party has shown readiness to vote Yes, while PDeCAT and EAJ-PNV have been more ambiguous. The fate of this motion of no confidence is likely to be clear on Thursday evening, once these three parties deliberate after hearing Pedro Sánchez’s speech.

On Friday morning, the PDeCAT party leader in Madrid said that they will hear Sánchez before deciding on their position. Yet he said there are "a lot of reasons" for voting Yes. Talking to the radio station RAC1, he said that he hopes the Socialist leader changes his tone when talking about the Catalan president, Quim Torra. "We have to hear whether he is in line with us or believes that the brutal deficit of the Spanish democracy does not exist," he said. Esquerra held more meetings with the Socialists on Wednesday, but the outcome is not clear. 

Gürtel case verdict

The People's Party former treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, was sentenced to 33 years in jail and fined 44 million euros in the Gürtel case sentence, with the party fined around 250,000 euros for benefiting from the fraudThe case involves accusations of kickbacks for the People’s Party in exchange for giving contracts to a network of businesspeople bidding for tenders. Former Spanish Health Minister Ana Mato will have to pay back 28,000 euros for also having used money from the fraud.