The Frankenstein Coalition’s Push to Govern in SpainBy
More than five years after Spanish papers first published ledgers that allegedly showed Mariano Rajoy had accepted kickbacks from a secret party slush fund, the prime minister is hanging on by a thread.
Opposition parties are close to pulling together the votes they need to topple him tomorrow. His former aides were convicted of graft last week.
Rajoy, who denies any wrongdoing, has been a fixture in Spanish politics for more than two decades as minister, opposition leader and, since 2011, head of the government.
So what happens next?
If he goes, the Socialists will most likely take over, backed by an unlikely alliance of Catalan separatists and the anti-establishment party Podemos — the Frankenstein coalition, Rajoy has called it.
But it may be a short-lived and chaotic administration. Beyond that is the prospect of new elections, with the centrist reformers of Ciudadanos leading in the polls and looking to capitalize. There's no populist revolution brewing here.
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What to Watch
- The agenda is stacked at an annual meeting of defense officials that kicks off tomorrow in Singapore. Besides discussions on North Korea, the South China Sea and Taiwan, the keynote address will be delivered by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose country has pushed back against China's growing influence.
- Italian President Sergio Mattarella is still waiting for Five Star and the League to tell him whether they'll come up with a viable government. A failure by the populist parties to form a government could lead to repeat elections.
And finally… Vogue Arabia dedicated its June issue to the “trailblazing” women of Saudi Arabia by featuring a princess in a red convertible on its cover. The kingdom plans to allow women to drive next month. After a recent crackdown on activists, the issue was immediately lampooned on social media by people who put images of detained women’s rights activists over the princess’s face.
— With assistance by Kathleen Hunter, Michael Winfrey, and Karl Maier