Spanish parliament begins no confidence debate on Rajoy’s PP government today

SPANISH lawmakers have begun debating a no confidence motion today which could see the country’s Prime Minister unseated if passed.

Members of the Congress of Deputies are scheduled to debate whether Mariano Rajoy should remain in the top job in the wake of the Gurtel kickbacks from contracts corruption scandal.

Rajoy has repeatedly said the ruling condemned individual members of his ruling conservative Partido Popular (PP) but not sitting members of the government.

“I recognise there have been corrupt members of the PP, but the PP itself is not corrupt. That’s why so many people have voted for us,” he said.

Rajoy has already delivered his speech to the Congress of Deputies this morning in a bid to persuade them to let him keep his job.

The motion of censure (no confidence) was introduced into the Congress of Deputies by the left-leaning Partido Socialista (PSOE) opposition last week.

It proposes replacing Rajoy, of the PP, with the PSOE’s leader Pedro Sanchez.

Sanchez said earlier this week that political parties could not look the other way in the wake of the Gurtel scandal.

“This Motion is not a yes vote for the PSOE, it is a yes vote for a democracy that values itself, its values, convictions and ethics in public life,” he said.

Neither party has a majority of seats on its own in the 350-member Congress of Deputies. The PSOE will have to rely on support from smaller, regionalist parties to succeed after the centrist Ciudadanos party ruled out backing it.

Their leader, Albert Rivera, said his party instead favoured holding early elections. Ciudadanos previously supported the PP minority government on key votes in Parliament but it said it was walking away from the pact in the wake of the Gurtel ruling.

Rivera said this morning that the motion was a product of a “corrupt” and “irresponsible” two party political system.

“It is terrible that the future of Spain is decided by those who gave a separatist, nationalist and populist coup instead of being determined by Spaniards in the polls,” he said.

The PSOE has managed to secure the backing of the far-left Podemos party for its motion. Pablo Iglesias, the party’s leader, said in a television interview Mariano Rajoy should make a dignified exit from the office after years of “looting”.

The no confidence debate is set to continue throughout today and into tomorrow, when it will be followed by a vote on the PSOE’s motion.

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Joe Gerrard

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