As expected, Spain's acting Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, failed to secure enough congressional support to get himself reinstated at a confidence vote held on Wednesday evening.
Rajoy earned 170 favourable votes from his own Popular Party (PP), the emerging centre-right group Ciudadanos and the small Canaries Coalition, falling six short of the 176 he needed for an overall majority.
Rajoy was unable to convince the Socialists that they should allow him to form a government and take Spain out of an eight-month-long political deadlock
The 85 Socialist Party (PSOE) deputies all voted no, honouring their leader Pedro Sánchez’s pledge not to support “that which we want to change.”
The eight-month-long political deadlock began after the original inconclusive election of December 20. A second election held on June 26 failed to improve matters in any significant way.
The conservative candidate gets a second try today, when all that he will need is a simple majority of more affirmative than negative votes. At this point, 11 abstentions would deliver the post to Rajoy. But so far Sánchez seems disinclined to grant them, and has yet to present an alternative that his party would support. If Spain is forced to hold a third general election, the strict timetables set out by current legislation would see them held on Christmas Day.