Spanish far-right no-confidence motion flops by huge margin

Madrid, Oct 22 (efe-epa).- An attempt by Spain’s far-right party Vox to table a no-confidence motion against the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez flopped on Thursday after two days of heated and divisive debate in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Santiago Abascal’s bid to become prime minister by removing Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Sánchez failed to get any support beyond Vox’s 52 MPs in the lower house of parliament.

A motion of no-confidence requires an absolute majority, which in Spain is 176 of 350 MPs.

All 298 remaining MPs voted against the motion.

The government, a PSOE-led coalition with junior partners, the leftist Unidas Podemos, and a string of smaller parties including Catalan and Basque separatists joined with the no vote.

The Popular Party’s 89 MPs also shot the motion down.

The party’s leader Pablo Casado had held his cards close to his chest for weeks, declining to say whether the bastion of Spanish conservatism would abstain or vote to block the no-confidence motion.

The PP governs with the support of Vox in a number of regional chambers in Spain, including Madrid, Andalusia and Murcia.

Casado used Thursday’s debate to draw a line in the sand between his party and Vox — PSOE and Podemos have accused him pandering to the far-right to chase lost votes — and presented the PP as a “calm, sensible, moderate, responsible and pro-European” alternative to the current government.

PSOE, Podemos and a number of political analysts viewed the motion as a ploy by Vox to exert its dominance over the right-wing of Spanish politics by forcing the PP to state its intentions in a no-confidence vote destined to fail.

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