MADRID (AP) — Spain’s parliament dismissed an attempt by the far-right Vox party to topple the governing leftist coalition on Wednesday, voting overwhelmingly against a no-confidence motion brought against Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s government.
The motion only earned the support of Vox’s 52 lawmakers plus one rogue vote, for a total of 53. The government received 201 votes, while the 91 members of the conservative Popular Party, the chamber’s leading opposition party, abstained.
In a move that was slammed by other political parties, Vox leader Santiago Abascal broke with custom and didn’t stand as an alternative prime minister. Instead, Vox chose an independent candidate in a futile attempt to win wider support.
The 89-year-old Ramón Tamames, a former communist leader who has journeyed across the political spectrum, was the losing candidate. The economist had pledged that his only act as prime minister would have been to immediately call for a national election to coincide with local elections scheduled for May 28.
Tamames had presented himself and Vox as protectors of the unity of Spain against Catalan separatist parties that Sánchez has relied on to win important votes in parliament.
This is the second time that Vox, an upstart party that resists criticizing Spain’s 20th-century dictatorship, blasts feminism and links unauthorized migration with increased violence, has lost a no-confidence vote against the current government after also failing in 2020.
Unlike French President Emmanuel Macron, who barely survived two no-confidence votes on Monday during ongoing protests against his raising of the retirement age from 62 to 64, Sánchez was never in danger of being ousted.
“We knew that this bizarre attempt would flop,” Sánchez said before the vote. “The only goal of this destructive no-confidence motion was to push Spain back 50 years (into the dictatorship of Francisco Franco).”