The Spanish Congress has rejected Alberto Núñez Feijóo’s bid to become Prime Minister.
As expected, Feijóo did not meet the required 176 seat absolute majority in the vote on September 27.
His own Partido Popular (PP), the Conservative Vox party and the regional parties from the Canary Islands and the Navarre region voted for the centre-right candidate, with 137, 33, 1 and 1 in favour, respectively, making 172 – just short of the target.
Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist Party (PSOE) led the 178 MP-front against Feijóo. Its 121 MPs were joined by Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Díaz’s 31 Sumar MPs.
MPs from the regionalist and separatist parties from Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia formed the rest of the opposition bloc.
“The Spanish people know my principles, my word, and my commitment to Spain are intact,” said Feijóo during the vote.
Throughout the electoral debates, the PP had lambasted Sánchez over his negotiations with Carles Puigdemont and other separatist leaders.
Feijóo added that he “cannot accept a Prime Minister that seeks the support of those who want to break the country to rule and trade with the system of Justice and the Rule of Law”.
During his speech, Feijóo sought support from some Socialists. He reiterated to Sánchez his offer to let the PSOE have input on policy, in exchange for their abstention.
Feijóo outlined a plan of “six State compacts” to tackle issues ranging from climate change to tax reform.
While Sánchez attended the Feijóo vote in Congress, he did not speak nor reply.
Despite the latest result, Feijóo has one more opportunity to become premier.
The Spanish Parliament will hold a second round of voting on September 29. This time, the leader of the PP will only need a simple majority to win the hot seat.
Still, observers do not expect Feijóo to secure victory in that round either.
If he loses, the Spanish Constitution tasks the Head of State – King Felipe VI – to nominate a new candidate.
While the King is required to hold a new round of consultations with political leaders, Sánchez looks set to become his new nominee.
The acting Prime Minister would have his own two rounds of voting in mid-October. According to the Constitution, a new leader must receive the Parliament’s go-ahead within the following two months.
Sánchez is according to some pundits expected to be able to muster enough support to gain another term as Prime Minister.
If he fails, the King will be forced to call new elections, that would likely take place on January 14.