Spanish acting PM fails to win confidence vote in parliament
Spain's acting prime minister lost a parliamentary confidence vote for a second term after he failed to win enough support from the opposition, bringing the country closer to a potential third election in a year.
Mariano Rajoy, of the centre-right People's Party (PP), received 170 votes of support,, falling short of the minimum 176 needed to form a government. He needed the support of the Socialists, who voted unanimously against him, to win the required absolute majority.
Spain's lack of a functioning government since elections in June and December, and the resulting political deadlock, have stalled investment and there are signs it could be starting to limit a strong economic recovery.
Liberal newcomer Ciudadanos voted in favour of Rajoy, as did a small party from the Canary Islands region. The Socialists, anti-austerity alliance Unidos Podemos, and regional parties from the Basque Country and Catalonia voted against him.
Mr Rajoy now faces a second vote today in which delegates can abstain and a simple majority would suffice to allow him to form a PP-led minority government.
He would need just 11 abstentions to win this second vote, but a loss is also likely if the Socialists do not cede.