As the hours go by, the chances that Pedro Sánchez's motion of no-confidence in Mariano Rajoy ends up coming through seem to be evaporating at a vertiginous speed. PSOE's leader is already shedding too many votes to have the slightest chance of reaching the Moncloa government palace if there's not a profound shake-up of the blackboard marking the votes in favour, votes against and the abstentions. If that weren't enough, the Congress's speaker, Ana Pastor, has accelerated the presentation of and vote on the motion of no-confidence, which will take place in record time this very Thursday and Friday. In the current circumstances, Sánchez will arrive at the parliamentary session on Thursday as a political corpse and will leave exactly the same on Friday.
What has happened in recent hours? Basically, the thirteen deputies of PDeCAT (eight) and EAJ (five), who seemed at least possibly open to supporting Sánchez, have distanced themselves (irreversibly?) from PSOE's initiative. In the case of the Basque nationalists (EAJ), they have in their favour the recently passed state budget which has meant an important windfall for the Basque Country and which the Basque government is in a position to capitalise on. There's a very broad consensus that EAJ isn't going to find the incentives to put this economic help at risk to give its support to a candidate who they, in the end, believe in as little as Rajoy. In these circumstances, the Basque nationalists believe that the best thing is to leave things as they are.
PDeCAT's situation is nothing like the Basques'. And there are two different forces at play in its position which have to complement each other: the interests of the former Convergència and those of Junts per Catalunya, with ministers in prison, as is also the case for Esquerra, and with president Carles Puigdemont in exile in Germany and pending an extradition warrant from the Spanish courts. An extradition which has non-existent prospects of prospering as presented (for rebellion and misuse of public funds), but which still awaits the Schleswig-Holstein court's verdict on the second charge. Although it has always discounted the possibility, the German Supreme Court could end up intervening in the case if prosecutors or the court ends up asking for an opinion.
To what extent does Berlin also have something to say about the motion of no-confidence? It's very hard to know, but if we look at the value chancellor Angela Merkel places on stability, it doesn't seem that a change of government in Spain in the present circumstances would be, in the slightest, one of their objectives. To summarise: if EAJ isn't willing to vote for the no-confidence motion and the numbers don't add up, why should PDeCAT jump into the void giving its votes to someone not offering them anything and which won't achieve anything? Obviously, on the other hand, the option of getting Rajoy out of the Moncloa is very attractive. Extraordinarily attractive.
The problem, however, is again the same as at the start of this article. The numbers don't add up for Sánchez.