Spain’s Rajoy Forced Out, Sánchez Elected Prime Minister

Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias meet in Madrid, February 5, 2016
Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias meet in Madrid, February 5, 2016 (PSOE)
  • Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has lost a confidence vote in parliament in the wake of a corruption scandal in his conservative party.
  • The Socialist Party’s Pedro Sánchez takes his place with the support of far-left and regionalist parties. Read more

Everything You Need to Know About the Confidence Vote in Spain

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy makes a speech in parliament in Madrid, November 19, 2014
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy makes a speech in parliament in Madrid, November 19, 2014 (La Moncloa)

Spanish lawmakers are debating whether or not to remove Mariano Rajoy as prime minister. A no-confidence motion introduced by the opposition Socialist Party is due to be voted on tomorrow.

Here is everything you need to know about the vote, including its chances of success. Read more

Spain’s Prime Minister May Be Forced to Call Early Elections

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy makes a speech in parliament in Madrid, October 11, 2017
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy makes a speech in parliament in Madrid, October 11, 2017 (La Moncloa)

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s time appears to be running out. The three largest opposition parties have called for early elections after prominent members of his People’s Party were found guilty of corruption.

Rajoy leads a minority conservative government. He has been relying on the support of the liberal Citizens to pass legislation. Read more

Rajoy Walks Back Promise of Constitutional Reform

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain gives a speech in Las Palmas, June 18, 2016
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain gives a speech in Las Palmas, June 18, 2016 (PP)

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has walked back his promise of constitutional reform, saying in a radio interview, “I have never been a supporter of reforming the Constitution. I’m prepared to listen, but not to go against unity or sovereignty.”

His only concession was to agree the current model of autonomous communities needs to be “evaluated” — but that could mean different things:

  • Left-wing parties argue for something close to federation, perhaps even with a right to self-determination for the Basques and Catalans.
  • Nationalists on the right, who felt Rajoy didn’t intervene strongly enough to disrupt the October 1 independence referendum in Catalonia, argue for centralization. Read more

Rajoy’s Offers Are Too Little, Too Late for Catalans

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a news conference in Madrid, January 26, 2015
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy delivers a news conference in Madrid, January 26, 2015 (La Moncloa)

In my latest op-ed for the Netherlands’ NRC newspaper, I argue that Mariano Rajoy’s strategy of waiting for others to fail or rescue him isn’t working anymore. Read more

A Failure of Leadership in Spain

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy arrives at parliament in Madrid, October 29, 2016
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy arrives at parliament in Madrid, October 29, 2016 (La Moncloa)

The unstoppable force of Catalan separatism is about to meet the unmovable object that is Mariano Rajoy.

The Spanish prime minister and conservative party leader has vowed to prevent an independence referendum in the northeastern region at all costs. The Catalans are determined to vote anyway.

Neither side will be able to claim victory on Monday.

Rajoy may succeed in blocking the vote, but his intransigence has already convinced moderate Catalans there isn’t a future for them in Spain. The separatists may manage to organize a referendum, but it will be so marred by illegality and irregularity that the outcome cannot possibly be considered a mandate to break away. Read more

Rajoy’s Attitude Makes Catalan Secession More Likely

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy makes a speech in parliament in Madrid, November 19, 2014
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy makes a speech in parliament in Madrid, November 19, 2014 (La Moncloa)

Whatever happened to Mariano Rajoy’s willingness to talk?

In February, he offered to hear out Catalan demands for self-government except one: holding a binding independence referendum.

Now instead of sitting down with Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan president, Rajoy has avoided meeting him in Madrid and challenged him to what could only be a fruitless debate in the national parliament. Read more