To secure permission to form a government, Feijóo needs the support of at least 176 lawmakers in two investiture votes. The first vote is scheduled for Wednesday and requires a simple majority. However, if Feijóo fails to obtain the necessary majority, he will have another opportunity in a second round of voting on Friday. In this case, he would only need more "yes" votes than "no" votes. The outcome could be influenced by abstentions.
Feijóo's Popular Party currently holds 137 seats in the Congress of the Deputies, making it the largest party in terms of seats. With the backing of Vox's 33 lawmakers and two small conservative parties representing Navarra and the Canary Islands, Feijóo is still four votes short of the required majority.
Should Feijóo be unable to secure approval, acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of the center-left Socialist party would have the opportunity to remain in power. However, Sánchez would need to gather sufficient support from leftist, regionalist, and even separatist parties. In particular, separatist parties from Catalonia are demanding amnesty for individuals involved in a failed secession attempt in 2017 and subsequent protests against the Spanish government's response. Additionally, Sánchez must also win over rival parties from the Basque region.
The outcome of these investiture votes will shape the future of Spain's government and set the course for addressing key issues and challenges the country faces.
Election Strategy: Feijóo's Bid for Prime Minister
The race for Spain's prime minister is heating up as opposition leader Feijóo, aged 62, seizes on the issue of a possible Catalan amnesty to bolster his chances. During his speech to lawmakers on Tuesday, Feijóo took aim at Sánchez, accusing him of capitulating to the demands of separatists, some of whom are fugitives, including Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia's former regional leader who fled Spain six years ago.
Despite drawing laughter from some left-wing rivals, Feijóo confidently declared, "I have within my reach the votes that I need to become prime minister. But I am not ready to accept the price I was asked to pay for them."
One of Feijóo's key propositions is the introduction of a new law to be implemented if he were to assume the role of prime minister. This law would address "constitutional disloyalty" and replace the sedition law that was abolished last year, which had assisted Catalan separatists entangled in legal issues.
In a biting critique directed at Sánchez, Feijóo questioned the effectiveness of his legal reforms, including the controversial pardoning of nine leaders from Catalonia's separatist movement. While acknowledging a temporary decrease in protests, Feijóo sarcastically remarked, "It is true that there are fewer protests, but why would they get up out of their chairs if you are giving them everything they ask for?" This comment garnered applause from his party members.
Alongside his criticism, Feijóo outlined his key governing points, which encompassed tax cuts and a commitment to provide free preschool education for children up to 3 years old. Expressing gratitude towards Vox for its support, he also emphasized his alignment with center-right policies on climate change adaptation and combatting gender violence - areas where Vox diverges in its stance.
However, Feijóo faces challenges in garnering support from smaller parties due to the Popular Party's alliances, particularly in regions, with Vox. Vox is widely regarded as anathema due to its far-right views and its aspiration to centralize power in Madrid by eliminating Spain's regional governments.
Failure on Feijóo's part to form a government would trigger a two-month period allowing Sánchez to make another attempt. If he too is unsuccessful, parliament would be dissolved on Nov. 27, necessitating a new election set for Jan. 14.