Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s leadership looks set to crumble Friday as a majority of opposition members of parliament have declared they will reject him in a vote of confidence.
Rajoy did not attend a parliamentary debate on his future Thursday when several opposition parties openly said their lawmakers would vote against him. That means 180 of parliament’s 350 members, a clear majority, will voice their lack of confidence in the leader.
Rajoy’s Popular Party has been plagued with corruption allegations for years. Rajoy has faced the humiliation of testifying in cases against members of his party, though he has not been among the accused.
The confidence motion was filed by Pedro Sanchez, the leader of the main opposition Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, after a court convicted Rajoy’s former aides of running slush funds to help finance Popular Party election campaigns. The court also questioned the credibility of Rajoy’s testimony during the proceedings.
Members of parliament can also approve Sanchez to take over as prime minister in Friday’s vote. Sanchez has said that he would call for snap elections should he be elected.
The Basque Nationalist Party as well as the separatist Catalan European Democratic Party and Republican Left of Catalonia were the latest to throw their support behind the motion against the Prime Minister.
Senior Socialist Party official Jose Luis Abalos said in parliament Thursday that the Popular Party was a “system of institutional corruption.”
“This is a vote of no confidence to recover the dignity of democracy. We do this first, then we call for elections,” he said.
Rajoy said last week that the confidence vote would bring instability to the country.
“It’s bad for the economic recovery, it’s bad for the country and the Spanish people. It brings uncertainty and harms the interests of its citizens,” he said.
The vote comes as Spain battles economic woes and struggles after a long political crisis with separatists in the region of Catalonia, which tried to secede from the country.
CNN’s Tim Lister and Laura Perez Maestro reported from Madrid, while Angela Dewan wrote and reported from London.