Luis Ángel Reglero
Madrid, Sept 27 (EFE).- Conservative leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo lost on Wednesday the first vote to become president of the Spanish government, as expected since he faced it without having gathered enough support.
The Popular Party (PP) president, the most voted force in Spain’s July elections, fell four votes short of the absolute majority he needed to be sworn in as president.
“On Friday, we have to vote again,” said Núñez Feijóo as he left the Spanish Congress of Deputies.
TIME IS PRESSING
As established by the Spanish Constitution, in 48 hours, he will have a second chance, for which he needs a simple majority, that is, more yes than no votes.
Something equally complicated after losing in the first round with 172 votes in favor and 178 against.
The PP has the support of its 137 representatives in the lower house of the Spanish Parliament, where the investiture is decided, plus the 33 of the far-right Vox and two regionalist formations.
But it has against the second most voted party, the socialist PSOE of the president in functions, Pedro Sánchez, with 121 deputies, and the left-wing formation Sumar plus the Catalan, Basque, and Galician nationalist and independentist parites, which count 178 votes.
Since Feijoo was proposed more than a month ago by the head of state, King Felipe VI, as a candidate for investiture, after having won the election, the conservative leader has not managed to win the support of any of these forces, not even the right-wing ones.
If he fails again on Friday, the king will have to open a new round of consultations among the parliamentary groups to propose another candidate.
This would allow Sanchez, who argues that he has greater support and insists that conservative the candidacy is doomed to fail.
Although some of those who gave their votes in August for the Socialists to win the presidency of Congress already warned that Sanchez would not have guaranteed votes if he opted for the investiture.
If no candidate manages to be invested in two months, by the November 27 deadline, Spain would be forced to new elections, which should be held on January 14.
CATALONIA IN THE BACKGROUND
Allusions to Catalonia plagued the debate in which Núñez Feijóo underwent his first attempt at investiture, as the conservative leader focused his speech on reaffirming that if he is president, there will be neither amnesty for those prosecuted for the 2017 unilateral declaration of independence in this Spanish region nor a referendum on self-determination agreed with the Spanish State.
The presidential candidate wielded that determination while accusing Sánchez of being willing to do anything, even to give in to the demands of the independentists, as long as he remained in power, to which he arrived in 2018.
However, for that, he would need the support of formations such as Junts of the former president of the Catalan Government, Carles Puigdemont, who fled from the Spanish Justice after the pro-independence attempt and warned that the amnesty was a precondition for his votes and a first step towards that consultation.
Núñez Feijóo did not have the reply of the acting president during the debate, as the socialists opted for one of their deputies, Oscar Puente, with hardly any prominence in the national arena of Spanish politics, to the anger of the conservatives.
Núñez Feijóo, 62, who was president of the regional government of Galicia from 2009 to 2022 before leaping into Spanish national politics, is the third PP candidate to undergo an investiture, after José María Aznar (1996-2004) and Mariano Rajoy (2011-2018), who were indeed invested presidents. EFE