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A step in the right direction... perhaps

Rajoy agrees to head a minority government, but there are conditions

Ana Pastor was elected Speaker of Congress on Tuesday.
Ana Pastor was elected Speaker of Congress on Tuesday.J. C. Cárdenas / EFE

The plans outlined by acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday would suggest that after more than six months in political limbo, Spain should soon have a government. That said, much remains to be negotiated as Rajoy continues to remind the opposition parties – Ciudadanos and the Socialist Party (PSOE) in particular – of their obligation to provide the stability in Congress in the coming months that will allow him to pass key bills on spending and the budget, along with presenting a unified front in Brussels, as well as foreign policy, defense and security measures. The likelihood of a third election in a year has diminished significantly, and the PM is on record as saying that he is prepared to lead a minority administration

The PP’s Ana Pastor is a moderate and in principle the best choice for House Speaker

In which case, it would have been more sensible for the job of Speaker of Congress to go to a member of the opposition. But the deal struck between Rajoy’s Popular Party (PP) and Ciudadanos in recent days effectively rules that out. It’s not the best solution, but the PP’s Ana Pastor is a moderate and in principle the best candidate.

The loser in all this is the Socialist Party, whose Patxi López was speaker during the brief, previous legislature. The PP has 137 seats in Congress, 39 short of an absolute majority, which would have given the Socialists a chance to place their candidate had they managed to hold onto their third place in Spain’s institutional order. But the party’s unwillingness to negotiate has left it out in the cold.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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