March 4. 2024. 7:16

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No-confidence motion against Spanish PM fails

Spain’s parliament widely rejected the motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez that was tabled by the far-right VOX (ECR) on Wednesday.

Lawmakers opposed the motion with 201 votes against, 91 abstentions – including from the centre-right Partido Popular (EPP) – and 53 votes from VOX and 1 from an independent MP in favour. The motion needed 176 votes in favour to pass.

The debate preceding the vote foreshadowed the lack of support for the motion – a prediction cemented just 20 minutes into the vote count.

The motion, presented by VOX’s candidate for the prime minister spot, 89-year-old economist and ex-communist party leader Ramon Tamames, resulted in an intense sparring match between left-wing and right-wing factions, as each defended their vision for Spain.

Tamames regretted that the debate led to “attacks on the fundamental principles of coexistence” and a return to “the two Spains again [right and left-wing factions]” but noted that it appeared to be some kind of “preparatory rally” for the upcoming regional elections on 28 May.

PP’s political dilemma

PP’s abstention was defended by the party’s spokeswoman Cuca Gamarra during the debate.

The party would not vote in favour or against “out of respect for the Spanish people”, including also Tamames, Gamarra added. “We can find some similarities in Tamames’ story, but it is not our story or our candidate or our project”, she added.

In a party meeting on 17 March, Sánchez accused PP leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo of “moving closer to VOX” as his party had made it clear it would abstain. In October 2020, former PP leader Pablo Casado voted against a motion also tabled by VOX.

The centre-right support for the no-confidence vote has failed to materialise even though they share with the far-right the vision of countering the social progress Sanchez’s left-wing government has made alongside Unidas Podemos (EU Left).

The vote on VOX’s no-confidence was the sixth since democracy was reinstated in Spain in 1978, and only the one that led to Sanchez toppling the right-wing government of former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in 2018 has succeeded so far.

(Fernando Heller |