World, Europe

Political storm in Spain after 3 no-confidence motions

Madrid’s premier calls snap election, but move may not hold up legally

Alyssa McMurtry   | 10.03.2021
Political storm in Spain after 3 no-confidence motions Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (L) meets the regional president of Madrid, Isabel Diaz Ayuso (R). ( FILE PHOTO - Anadolu Agency )

OVIEDO, Spain

Spain’s Socialist Party filed three separate no-confidence motions in regional governments ruled by right-wing coalitions on Wednesday, spurring a rift between traditional allies and promising a shake-up of local governance.

The first move came in the southern region of Murcia, ruled by a coalition consisting of the conservative Popular Party, center-right Citizens and the far-right party Vox.

On Wednesday morning, the Socialist Party and Citizens made the unexpected announcement that they filed a joint motion of no-confidence against the regional government.

The two parties said they will join forces to govern the region, which would put an end to the Popular Party’s uninterrupted 26-year rule of the region.

Following the news, Madrid Premier Isabel Ayuso announced a sudden split from Citizens party, with whom she was governing Spain’s capital region. She also called snap elections in Madrid.

She apologized for the elections but said “if I didn’t do it, Citizens and the Socialists would have presented a motion of no-confidence,” which would have been a “disaster for Madrid.”

The Citizens party in Madrid denied plotting against her.

“I’m listening to her press conference in utter disbelief. She’s lying. How irresponsible,” tweeted Citizens’ Ignacio Aguado, the vice premier of Madrid.

However, the Socialist Party and Mas Madrid did file no-confidence motions against Ayuso’s government on Wednesday, before she officially triggered elections.

As Spanish law stipulates that a government is unable to trigger elections while facing a no-confidence motion, it appears likely that Ayuso will have to face a vote to dissolve her government in the regional parliament.

What the Citizens party would do in that vote would be key to who could take over leadership. According to local media, Ayuso has indeed fired all the Citizens ministers from her government.

The Socialist Party also launched a no-confidence motion in the region of Castile and Leon on Wednesday. The Citizens-Popular Party coalition appears to be holding strong there, as both parties told the Socialists to “abandon all hope” in a press conference.

Still, the Socialists would need just a few members of Citizens to cross the floor to govern in the region, also traditionally led by conservatives.

The powerful Spanish region of Catalonia is also still without a functioning government, as parties have been unable to form a coalition since elections were held nearly one month ago.

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