Tuesday, 29 May 2018

The Vote of Confidence

The vote of confidence (‘moción de censura’), called for by Pedro Sánchez of the PSOE, with unconditional support from Union Podemos, will be debated on Thursday and voted on Friday, 1st June.
Spain is at a tense moment, with the Partido Popular in disarray following the sentencing in the Gürtel trial last week - with several important ex-members of the party receiving exemplary prison terms (including Luis Bárcenas) and the PP itself cited for improper party finance, with a 250,000€ fine. A couple of days earlier, on Monday, the ex-minister of the PP and Valencia strong-man Eduardo Zaplana had been arrested and jailed without bail for another case of party corruption. There are many more cases down the line (here).
Of course, it could have been worse if one of the judges hadn’t delayed his ruling a few days, allowing, at least, the national budget to go through safely....
Following from this, the PSOE announced that it would table the debate. They need either all of the smaller independent and regional groups to back them, or else the hard-to-fathom Ciudadanos party.
Ciudadanos, a party that is liberal yet right-wing, anti-corruption yet tied to the Partido Popular, has been mealy-mouthed so far, saying one thing then another, and are now shooting for Rajoy to call for immediate elections (which he can’t following constitutional law). In the event of an election, of course, Ciudadanos stand to do rather well...
For once, their protagonism is limited – and the thought of a legislature run by Pedro Sánchez, however brief, is galling.
Rajoy's reaction to all of this is to say that 'Sánchez wants to be president at any cost', despite '...the damage to Spain's stability'. His party has also been busy, sending out appropriate propaganda to friendly news-media – like ‘the economy and jobs would take a massive hit if the vote of confidence were to prosper’.  Público shows some newspapers playing along here.

The PSOE needs all of the independent groups – the Basque and the Catalonians and the Canary deputy. Can they do it? They say they won’t negotiate with the other parties, but offer a simple yes/no. El Pais has a video which explains the position here. The moción de censura also needs the support of the voters – are they sick and tired of corruption, or do they feel that we still need the firm hand of the Partido Popular? As to corruption itself, a guide here shows that 86% of the cost of corruption in Spain (figured at 122,000 million euros) is down to the Partido Popular.
The vote of confidence, then, ideally needs just one more small push. Another little scandal to break the camel’s back. Perhaps to avoid this, Luís Barcenas’ wife Rosalía Iglesias has been spared prison for the time being and her husband’s threat to ‘spill all’ has, for the moment, been silenced.
Either and any way one looks at it, the present Government has fallen in all but name (as forecast by me six weeks ago here).

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