Friday, 23 October 2020, 20:14
The Socalist-led coalition government of Pedro Sánchez survived a vote of no confidence in parliament on Thursday. The motion had been brought by the hard-right Vox party and only its 52 MPs supported it. It was only the fifth no-confidence motion brought against a government since democracy was restored in 1978.
Although the PSOE-Socialist and Unidas Podemos (UP) coalition has only a wafer thin majority of support in Congreso with the help of minority parties, it wasn't expected Vox's motion would succeed this week.
Most speculation during the two-day debate was how the conservative Partido Popular (PP) party would vote.
While some thought its MPs would abstain, rather than support Vox, a party that has been taking votes from it on the right, in the end Pablo Casado's PP voted against.
In what was seen as a fight for ascendancy on the Spanish right, Casado told Santiago Abascal, Vox's leader, "We aren't like you because we don't want to be like you, it's as simple as that," adding in reference to the no-confidence debate: "You've called us here to waste our time in the middle of a second wave of [Covid] contagion."
During the debate on Vox's bid to win power, Abascal had launched stinging attacks on Pedro Sánchez's government.
Abascal said that it was "a government against Spain, against the nation and against the King".
He presented a plan to save costs, including doing away with the 17 devolved regional assemblies and centralising power.
As part of his speeches to MPs, Abascal spent time reading out the names of all those who had been killed by ETA Basque terrorism, which ended nine years ago, in criticism of the government's concessions to the EH Bildu left-wing Basque party.
Addressing MPs from the PP, Abascal said, "I need to ask for your vote. It's in your hands to show that between us all, despite the huge differences, we can build an alternative to this disaster."
When announcing that the PP would vote against Abascal, Pablo Casado said, "He doesn't want to change the government but rather overtake the PP, but he should abandon all hope."
"We say no to the split you want, to the polarisation that you need as much as Sánchez does."
For his part during the debate, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said there was no way that Abascal could portray himself as "saviour of Spain".
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