Feijoo launches doomed bid to form Spain’s next govt

Madrid: The Spanish Congress opened the investiture debate for the leader of the country’s Right-wing People’s Party (PP), Alberto Nunez Feijoo, who is trying to convince lawmakers to let him form the country’s new government.

“I present my candidacy with the support of 172 (votes),” Feijoo said on Tuesday, adding that his party had “won in the municipal elections, in the regional elections and, although some don’t want to recognise it, we won the general election of July 23, with 16 deputies more than the second party (Socialist Party)”.

Feijoo’s PP won 137 votes in the July 23 general election, more than the ruling Socialist Party (PSOE), which claimed 121 seats in the 350-seat Congress, Xinhua news agency reported.

“My party won the elections,” Feijoo said, although even with the support of the 33 deputies of the extreme right-wing Vox party and a vote each from the regional Navarrese People’s Union and Coalicion Canaria. He can only count on 172 votes, four short of the 176 he needs for an overall majority in the vote that will be held on Wednesday.

The PP has tried to make up for this shortfall by asking for support from Socialist deputies unhappy with the prospect of acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez granting an amnesty to Catalan leaders involved in the October 2017 independence referendum, which was ruled illegal by the country’s Constitutional Court.

According to local media, there are no signs that any MPs are willing to betray their own party.

After Feijoo makes his pitch to form a government on Tuesday, MPs will debate the proposal and then proceed to an initial vote on Wednesday, followed by another vote on Friday.

If Feijoo fails to win an overall majority on Wednesday, he will have another chance on Friday, when a simple majority (i.e. more votes in favour than against) would be enough to make him Prime Minister.

PSOE spokesman Oscar Puente said on Sanchez’s behalf that in a parliamentary democracy, leading the party with the biggest number of votes is not winning an election, while winning is to be able to form a government.

Marta Lois, who spoke for the Left-wing electoral platform Sumar that won 31 seats in July, also doubted whether Feijoo would secure majority support.

She said, “You finished first in the number of votes, but not in parliamentary support.”

Sanchez could count on enough support to become Prime Minister, but it appears the price for the votes of the Catalan parties would be an amnesty for the leaders involved in the 2017 referendum.



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