Spanish Liberals Vow No Support for Rajoy Whatever the Pressure

  • Ciudadanos prepared to abstain to break political deadlock
  • Party would consider supporting PP if it ousted Rajoy

The pro-market reformers of Ciudadanos won’t vote for Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to stay in power in Spain under any circumstances, regardless of the pressures they face from other parties or the media, a senior party official said.

Ciudadanos is prepared to abstain in a confidence vote in the Spanish parliament to allow Rajoy to take office for a second time if his People’s Party can find enough support elsewhere, but it won’t vote in favor of the PP while Rajoy remains its candidate, Juan Carlos Girauta, head of the party’s parliamentary group, said in an interview Wednesday.

“Even if you read it on 20 front pages and in 10 editorials, we aren’t going to support Rajoy,” said Girauta in an interview in Madrid Wednesday. “We are offering a technical abstention in a second vote as gesture to help the legislature get started.”

King Felipe VI plans to start a round of talks with party leaders next week to identify a candidate who can put together a majority in parliament and end seven months of political gridlock. While the PP was the only party to increase his vote in June’s repeat election, it’s far from the votes needed to take office.

Rival leaders saying they won’t join an alliance with Rajoy because he’s failed to clear up allegations that he benefited from a secret party slush fund. The prime minister denies any wrongdoing, a position hasn’t been ratified by any third party assessment. PP officials linked to the alleged fund are due to stand in October.

Ciudadanos’s 32 lawmakers aren’t enough for Rajoy to reach a majority in the 350-seat chamber, but their support would make it easier for the Socialists to abstain and that would allow Rajoy back in.

“We’ll stick to our stance agreed in the party’s executive committee,” Girauta said. He said the group might review its stance if the PP put forward a different candidate.

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