The plenary of the Spanish parliament on Wednesday rejected the investiture of PP leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo. As expected, there were 178 deputies against and 172 in favour in this first vote. There were no absentees.
The vote was public and on call. That means each delegate stood up when called to cast his or her vote: yes, no or abstention. Delegates were called in alphabetical order, starting with a randomly chosen letter: the vote began with PSOE member Adriana Maldonado’s ‘no’ vote.
This first vote required an absolute majority of 176 votes, but Alberto Núñez Feijóo did not reach that number. He received the 172 votes of the PP (137 MPs), Vox (33), Coalición Canaria (1) and UPN (1), against the 178 ‘no’s’ of PSOE (121), Sumar (31), ERC (7), Junts (7) Bildu (6), PNV (5) and BNG (1).
Second vote in Spanish parliament within 48 hours
Spanish law provides for a second vote after 48 hours. That will take place on Friday. Then, an absolute majority is no longer required, but Feijóo will suffice with a simple majority. He can then become prime minister if there are more ‘yes’ votes than ‘no’ votes. But given the views expressed in the investiture debate, it does not seem likely that Feijóo’s investiture will succeed in the ‘second round’. Even on Friday, his chances do not seem great.
The Congress president, the socialist Francina Armengol, will have to travel to the Zarzuela Palace to inform the head of state of the result of the votes for the investiture of the Popular Party leader. It is likely that King Felipe VI will call a new round of consultations next week. Then he will presumably ask outgoing prime minister Pedro Sánchez, list leader of the PSOE, to form a government. The PSOE finished second in the elections on 23 July. The Socialists do not have a parliamentary majority either. They need the support of Catalan separatists, who are demanding amnesty for those involved in the 2017 attempt to separate Catalonia from Spain. This led to many protests among PP supporters, who took to the streets in Madrid en masse on Sunday.
Elections on 14 January?
Wednesday’s vote activates the two-month period laid down in Article 99 of the Spanish Constitution to reach an investiture. If on 27 November no one has passed this vote and the deadlock persists, there will be new elections on 14 January.