Fresh general election in Spain looms, as Popular Party prime ministerial candidate loses first investiture vote

AS HAD BEEN widely predicted, Popular Party (PP) leader Alberto Nuñez Feijoo today lost the first vote at an investiture debate that could see him become prime minister. Lawmakers in the lower house of parliament, the Congress of Deputies, rejected his bid for power with 178 no votes compared to 172 yes votes. 

Feijoo only garnered the support of the 137 deputies from his own party, along with 33 from far-right Vox and one each from the small Canarian Coalition and Navarrese People’s Union parties. 

Voting against him were the Socialist Party, leftist alliance Sumar, and smaller regional groups such as the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), among others. 

Dates revealed for parliamentary votes to make Partido Popular's Alberto Nuñez Feijoo Spain's new prime minister
Alberto Núñez Feijoo, leader of the Popular Party (PP). Luis Soto / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

At today’s first vote, which came after a day-and-a-half of often bad-tempered debate, Feijoo needed an absolute majority of 176 votes in the 350-seat chamber. 

A second vote will now take place 48 hours later, most likely on Friday evening. On that occasion Feijoo will only need a simple majority – i.e. more yes votes than no votes – but the result is likely to be the same barring any last-minute surprises. 

Feijoo was chosen as a prime ministerial candidate by Spain’s King Felipe VI after the monarch held a series of meetings with political leaders in the wake of the inconclusive July 23 general election. 

The PP leader had admitted to the king that he did not have the support needed to be successful, but was presented anyway given that the party garnered the most votes at the election despite falling well short of a majority. 

Should Feijoo lose the vote on Friday, the most likely scenario will be caretaker prime minister Pedro Sanchez being presented as a candidate by the king.

Should he be unsuccessful – he also will need the support of a series of other parties, including Catalan nationalists – then Spain will have to hold another general election on January 14. 

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