The main Spanish opposition party, PSOE, has called an extraordinary meeting of its federal executive after today's release of the sentence in the Gürtel affair. The governing PP party is found to have benefited financially from the corruption scandal. PSOE say they want to analyse the "political situation" after Podemos's proposal to present a motion of no-confidence against Mariano Rajoy. Party sources say "the response from the PP and the Spanish government to the sentence [is] unacceptable". PP said they were not "affected" by the case, whilst the opposition said it does "involve [Rajoy] politically".
The meeting will take place at 11am this Friday and some of the party's regional federations around Spain have expressed support for considering a motion of no-confidence. The party is reticent, however, given that this might require the support of the pro-independence Catalan parties. Last summer, ERC and PDeCAT offered their support to Sánchez for a motion against the president, wanting nothing in exchange, but this didn't go ahead, being vetoed by the party's executive just weeks before the Catalan referendum.
The possibility of a motion of no-confidence fits with Sánchez's plans to show a more statesman-like face following the nomination of Catalan president Quim Torra. PSOE's leader then stood by agreements with the Spanish government over Catalonia and hoping for a possible agreement over pensions, funding and water, with the idea of relaunching his party in the face of Ciudadanos's recent progress. Rajoy himself said in an interview this morning that he was "satisfied" with Sánchez because he doesn't make "untimely statements", insinuating that in this he was different to Ciudadanos's Albert Rivera.
Es inasumible en un sistema democrático tener al frente del gobierno a un partido condenado por corrupción. Así se lo he transmitido a @sanchezcastejon, necesitamos represtigiar las instituciones, fortalecer la democracia #MociondeCensura— María Chivite (@mavichina) 24 de mayo de 2018
The first PSOE leader to openly call for a vote of no-confidence was the party's secretary general in Navarra, María Chivite. On Twitter, she announced that she had told Sánchez that she believes it "unacceptable that a democratic system should have at the head of its government a party sentenced for corruption".
Others of the party's federations believe that the Gürtel sentence means they have to at least "evaluate as a real possibility" presenting a vote of no-confidence. They suggest, however, that depending on the votes of the pro-independence parties should be a red line they cannot cross.