Support for Spain’s presidential candidates will have strings attached

Support for Spain's political parties will have strings attached

ZARZUELA MEETING: King Felipe Vi, seen here with Francina Armengol, will meet party leaders from August 21 onwards Photo credit: Casa Real

THE PSOE socialists are pleased with themselves at present, but the euphoria could be short-lived.

Their candidate Francina Armengol has been elected Speaker of Spain’s national parliament, putting her in the country’s third most-important position after the King and the president of the government.

But there is no guarantee that a similar voting pattern will keep Pedro Sanchez in the Moncloa Palace, Spain’s equivalent of the UK’s 10 Downing Street.

On August 21, the leader of each political party is scheduled to visit King Felipe.  Depending on what he learns, he will decide whose party is in the best position to form a government.

Neither Junts per Catalunya, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), Bloque Nacionalista de Galicia (BNG), nor the Basque EH-Bildu will attend, as these ultra-nacionalist parties do not recognise the King as  head of state.

But Union del Pueblo Navarro (UPN), Coalicion Canaria (CC), Partido Nacionalista Vasco (PNV) Sumar, Vox, PSOE y Partido Popular will all turn up on time.

Since UPN and CC have only one seat apiece, the Zarzuela visit is a formality, while Alberto Nuñez Feijoo, the PP leader and presidential candidate, will be the last to appear on August 22, ahead of Pedro Sanchez.

As the PP was the most-voted party in the July 23 general election, Feijoo should be first choice as he can count on the PP’s 137 MPs, Vox’s 33 and – probably – the two from UPN and CC.  These 172 seats will put them ahead of the PSOE with 121 MPs and another 33 from Sumar.

Pedro Sanchez would scoop up more votes from the nationalist parties in an investiture bid but he cannot expect the seven Junts’ votes that put Francina Armengol in the Speaker’s chair on August 17.

She was a certainty once Junts announced an hour before the parliamentary session began that they would back her.  Instead Vox provided unforeseen drama when the count-up of the ballot papers revealed that the hard-right party had voted for its own candidate, Ignacio Gil Lazaro.

Earlier that morning, Feijoo informed Vox leader Santiago Abascal that he would not be willing to cede one of the Partido Popular’s vice-presidencies on the Mesa del Congreso (Parliamentary Table) which assists the Speaker in the day-to-day running of parliament.

A piqued Abascal decided not to back Gamarra despite having helped the PP enter 140 town and city halls as well as four autonomous governments following the May 28 local and regional elections.

It is not necessary to be a political insider to be aware that Sanchez cannot count on Junts to back his own investiture attempt.

In contrast, Feijoo is safe in the knowledge that Vox would back an investiture after Abascal declared some time back that his party’s support would be unconditional and with no strings attached.

Armengol is Speaker because the PSOE agreed that Catalan and other regional languages could be used in Parliament as they already are in the senate.  There will also be an investigation into the Pegasus Case, also known as Catalangate, when the government of the day headed by the PP’s Mariano Rajoy allegedly spied on Catalan leaders.

But Junts would put an astronomical price on propping Sanchez’s investiture.  This includes an amnesty for self-exiled Carles Puigdemont and other former Generalitat members who declared the short-lived Catalan republic in October 2017.  Junts also wants a constitutionally-impossible referendum.

As neither Feijoo nor Sanchez can summon enough votes for a presidency, another election in December or early January looks inevitable.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at