As if it hadn’t been enough to go vote in the middle of summer, in the hottest month of July in history, the Spaniards saw their Christmases in danger given the possibility that a government will not be formed by the end of November and Spain will have to go back to the polls to repeat the elections.
However, this Wednesday, one day after King Felipe VI anointed Alberto Nunez Feijoo, the Popular Party candidate, to try to form a government, the president of Congress, Francina Armengol, announced that the investiture debate for Nunez Feijoo It will be held on September 26 and 27.
It is not a cricious date that the president of Congress fancied but a precise calculation so that if Spain does not manage to have a new government before November 27, the electoral repetition leaves Christmas, New Year and Epiphany days safe.
The electoral law states that, if no candidate proposed by the head of state -King Felipe- obtains the necessary support to be elected president of the government during the two months following the first investiture debate, the newly formed Parliament is dissolved and the Spanish will be called to vote again on January 14, 2024.
The PP is missing four
Speculation about the doubtful possibilities of Spain launching a new government are not unfounded: neither the Popular Party, which with 33.1 percent was the most voted in the general elections on July 23, nor the PSOE , second in votes with 31.7 percent and with the possibility of adding support from other leftist forces, manage to scratch the number of deputies essential to achieve an investiture.
Because none gathers the 176 seatshalf plus one of the 350 parliamentarians that make up the Congress of Deputies.
However, both Nunez Feijoo and the current acting president and PSOE candidate, Pedro Sanchez, intend to try.
First Nunez Feijoo will do it, according to the will of King Felipe, whose entourage took it upon himself to clarify that the head of state usually follow the tradition according to which the candidate of the most voted party is the one who is granted the first chance to form a government.
The July electoral result allows the Popular Party to seat 137 of its own deputies in Congress. Nunez Feijoo got Vox to support him, which would add 33 more seats. To which are added two other deputies: one from the Canary Islands Coalition and another from the Union of the Navarro People.
In total, it gathers 172 supports, four less than it would take to reach an absolute majority.
With everyone except Bildu
As of Monday the 28th, Nunez Feijoo will begin to contact the different parliamentary groups to get the support he lacks.
He will meet everyone except EH Bilduthe party whose leaders include former members of ETA and which, although it is a constitutionally recognized political formation, is a red line for the Popular Party.
“I am not guaranteed to achieve a government in the short term but I am going to defend that, in the face of the blockade and misrule, there is a government alternative that defends the equality of all Spaniards and their dignity”, said Nunez Feijoo after meeting with the king in the contact conference that Felipe VI held between Monday and Tuesday with all the parties that have parliamentary representation.
The Catalan and Basque separatists did not attend the monarch’s call.
“I regret that there are parties that have not attended the round of consultations with the head of state. They make it clear that what interests them in Spain and its governance is very little and that they do not respect our democratic institutions. It will be bad for us if we have a government that is based on it, ”Nunez Feijoo stressed, pointing to Pedro Sanchez, who will have to agree with the Basque and Catalan nationalists if he aspires to keep his chair in the Moncloa Palace.
“It would be a failed investiture”said Pedro Sanchez about the attempt of the Popular Party.
On September 26, when Alberto Nunez Feijoo pears at his investiture debate, 35 days will have passed since the king proposed him as a candidate.
The 27th will be the first vote in which you will need an absolute majority, that is, 176 votes.
If you don’t make the remaining four, you’ll get a second chance 48 hours later, on September 29. This time, he would just need to re more ‘yes’ than ‘no’.
If you don’t get it either, Pedro Sanchez would have two months to achieve his investiture.
“I have transferred to His Majesty the King my willingness to assume responsibility and work to articulate the parliamentary majority to form a government of progress,” said Sanchez after his meeting with Felipe VI.
“We offer the political, social and economic stability that our country needs and demands,” he added.
What does the independence movement ask for in return?
But the accounts do not close for Sanchez either. It obtained 121 seats to which it adds the 31 of Sumarthe political formation of its Minister of Labor, Yolanda Diaz, who debuted in the general elections in July and garnered 12.3 percent of the votes.
Sanchez aspires to reissue the support of the Basque and Catalan separatists which he obtained in the 2019 elections.
But if at that time the adhesion of the most moderate Catalan sovereignists – Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya – was enough for him, this time too he is going to need the formation of the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont -self-exiled outside of Spain because if he returns he will go to jail for the unilateral declaration of independence of Catalonia in 2017- I said yes.
The Catalan independence movement asks Sanchez to agree to a self-determination referendum in exchange for their votes so that he can achieve his re-election. And the most radical even ask for an amnesty law.
“Dialogue is the method and the Constitution is the framework”Pedro Sanchez repeats every time he is asked how he will negotiate with the independentistas.