President Armengol has all along sought to distance herself from a Rajoy investiture.

29-09-2016Emilio Naranjo, EFE

The decision of PSOE's federal committee to support an abstention that will allow Mariano Rajoy's investiture as prime minister could have potential ramifications for the Balearic government. President Francina Armengol, of PSOE, had previously voiced her opposition to the abstention and she today described it as "an historic mistake".

She believes that the abstention will have very great consequences for the party, and thinking about the situation in the Balearics, she will be trying to convince the party's temporary leadership (temporary since Pedro Sánchez resigned) that the abstention is taken in the "most intelligent and most respectful way possible".

Armengol defends the rights of the party's membership to decide, but she also very clearly has in mind the situation in the Balearics. If Balearic PSOE deputies in Congress abstain, things could become difficult, and Laura Camargo, the Podemos parliamentary spokesperson, alluded to this today. If there is abstention, the "grand coalition" of the pact between PSOE and Més (in government) and Podemos (not formally part of the government) could be "mortally wounded".

Camargo added that Armengol is now "orphaned politically" (she was the only PSOE regional president to say no to the abstention). The Podemos citizens' assembly, Camargo went on, will have its say in whether Podemos continues to give Armengol and the government its "external support".

The Podemos spokesperson was issuing veiled threats related to the budget for 2017. Although Podemos agreed to the spending ceiling last week, there are issues it is still determined to try and press for, such as increasing the tourist tax. Podemos may therefore feel it can gamble by making and securing such demands in return for its continuing support of the government.

The Més spokesperson, Bel Busquets, was far less demanding. She said today that the "agreements for change" which guide the pact in the Balearics should not be mixed up with Rajoy's investiture. Echoing Armengol's words about an historic mistake, Busquets expressed her solidarity with Armengol and PSOE in the Balearics for their opposition to the investiture.

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