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Basque party says will vote against Spain PM in no-confidence motion

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – The Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) has announced its five lawmakers in the Spanish parliament will support a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, making it almost certain that he would be ousted from power.

Aitor Esteban of the PNV said during a pre-vote debate at the lower house of parliament on Thursday that his party would vote against Rajoy in the main vote slated for Friday.

The announcement means that the opposition Socialists, who have proposed the vote over court graft-related rulings against members of Rajoy’s Popular Party (PP), will have the absolute majority of 176 votes needed to depose the premier from office.

Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez urged Rajoy to step down in the face of massive corruption allegations against his party.

“Resign, Mr Rajoy, your time is up. Resign and this no-confidence motion ends here, today and now,” Sanchez said Thursday during the debate in parliament, adding, “Your isolation, Mr. Rajoy, is the epitaph of a political period, yours, which is over.”

Sanchez, a 46-year-old former economics professor, can replace Rajoy as prime minister if the no-confidence vote goes through and if the Socialists could agree with other parties on formation of a coalition government.

Rajoy, 63, has been hailed for the strong economic records of his administration over the past years, but has also faced criticism over the corruption trial and also his inability to fully contain a political standoff in the northeastern Catalonia region.

He has rejected calls for resignation, which would enable the PP to rule Spain in the form of a caretaker government. He insists the corruption trial, which says former PP members received bribes in exchange for lucrative public contracts between 1999 and 2005, has nothing to do with his current administration.

“The PP has had corrupt people, I acknowledge it but the PP is not a corrupt party,” he said during the parliament debate on Thursday, adding that only a tiny number of PP politicians had been tainted by corruption.

Rajoy also accused Sanchez of “opportunism at the service of personal ambition,” saying the Socialists had also been involved in numerous corruption cases over the years.

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