Spain’s conservative People’s Party said on Monday that it felt it could break the political gridlock and create a government after the hard-right Vox signaled that it would not insist on being part of a coalition in exchange for its support.
Vox announced on Sunday that its 33 members would “support a majority” for the right-wing bloc in the Spanish parliament’s lower house to prevent the Socialists (PSOE) from striking deals with Catalan and Basque separatists and forming what the hard-right party has called a “government of national destruction.”
The PP´s general coordinator Elias Bendodo said the gesture would clear the way for other minor parties which objected to Vox’s involvement to support the PP in an investiture vote.
“The rules of the game have changed and therefore the parties which had previously taken up positions (now face) different circumstances,” Bendodo told Radio COPE on Monday.
But Bendodo’s claim was swiftly rebutted by the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), which said on the social media platform X that its position had not changed. The PNV has said it would not negotiate with the PP to form a government involving Vox.
Spain´s election last month ended in a stalemate with neither right-wing nor left-wing blocs winning enough seats for a majority.
The PP and Vox, seen as potential coalition partners during the campaign, earned a combined 170 seats in the 350-seat lower house, falling short of the 176 lawmakers needed to secure a parliamentary majority.
Since it won the most seats, Spain´s King Felipe VI is expected to give the PP the first stab at forming a government when parliament is convened on Aug. 17.
The PNV, which has five seats, has previously supported the PP, most notably in when 2018 it allowed former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy´s minority government to get the budget approved.
But the party has in recent years developed closer ties with the Socialists (PSOE), forming coalitions in several municipalities in the Basque Country.
The PP may also need to secure support from Coalicion Canaria, which has one seat and has said it could support either bloc, though not one ushering Vox into government.
Vox did not respond to a Reuters request to clarify its statement but a party source said it meant it would not seek cabinet positions in exchange for parliamentary support, nor would it block support for the PP from the PNV which it has opposed in the past because of its policies promoting Basque language and culture.
The PSOE, which together with ally Sumar won 152 seats, also have a route to power, but it will require difficult negotiations with Catalan separatists including the hardline Junts which says it will want a fresh vote on independence in return.