Rajoy invested as president despite 15 socialists breaking the rules and voting "no"

MARIANO Rajoy (PP) has successfully got through his sixth round of voting this year to become president of Spain for another term, governing in a minority with 137 seats out of 350.

As before, the PP itself voted in favour – 134 members of the party plus three others from UPN-Navarra and the Asturian Forum, who stood in coalition with the right-wing party in the last general election – plus Ciudadanos, another 32, and the sole MP for the Canarian Coalition.

Voting against were 67 members of Unidos Podemos and 15 from the non-affiliated group who had been part of other parties before the elections such as the socialists and Unidos Podemos.

The non-affiliated group included Valencian party Compromís (four in total), two from the Basque party EH-Bildu, one from Nueva Canarias and eight from the Catalunya-based party PDECat.

Also voting against were nine members of the Catalunya Left Republicans (ERC), the five members of the Basque National Party, PNV – and 15 socialists.

The other 68 socialists duly abstained as instructed by their Federal Committee, although two of these – Murcia"s María González Veracruz and Asturias" Adriana Lastra – did so under protest, using the formula "abstain by imperative", so as not to suffer the consequences of "disobeying" their party.

The first of the socialists to openly rebel and vote "no" was Lídia Guinart of the Catalunya branch of the party, PSC, and she was followed by her colleagues Meritxell Batet, Manuel Cruz, José Zaragoza, Mercè Perea, Marc Lamuà and Joan Ruiz.

Later, MPs Margarita Robles, Zaida Cantera, Sofía Herranz, Pere Joan Pons, Odón Elorza, Susana Sumelzo, Rocío de Frutos and María Luz Martínez Seijo followed suit, voting "no" in spite of their party.

Ironically, former PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez"s decision to give up his MP seat rather than go against his convictions meant the same result as if he had abstained anyway – with no time left to formally hand his seat to the next on the list, Carlota Merchán, only 349 out of the 350 MPs voted.

But Sánchez"s rebelling would not have made a difference, since Rajoy gained the 170 votes in favour he has done in each of the other five attempts, to just 111 against, with 68 abstaining.

PSOE administrative committee leader Javier Fernández announced at the beginning: “Rajoy is not the president Spain deserves, but Spain does not deserve a third general election either.”

Albert Rivera of Ciudadanos said: “Spain cannot wait any longer for a government. Sr Rajoy, if you do what Ciudadanos has told you to do, there"ll be no problems.”

Other dissenting parties accused the PSOE of "betrayal" in allowing the PP to govern, referring to them as "corrupt", "thieves" and pointing out their shortcomings, including failing to reduce unemployment figures except on paper, raiding the pension pot and leaving the Social Security funds in their worst state in decades and the country in its greatest debt ratio of the GDP in over 100 years.