In such circumstances, Jonathan Hopkin, an associate professor of comparative politics at the London School of Economics, forecast that the Socialist initiative to oust Mr. Rajoy would fail “because of the divisions between the interests of the main opposition parties.”
But even if he can survive, Mr. Rajoy and his Popular Party will be weakened, even more than they have recently been. Last week’s verdicts in the corruption case made the party the first Spanish political force to be convicted of operating a slush fund and ordered to pay a fine, 245,000 euros.
The party’s former treasurer, Luis Bárcenas, was sentenced to 33 years in prison and fined €44 million, alongside 28 other businessmen and politicians who received over 300 years in combined prison sentences for benefiting from a kickbacks-for-contracts scheme.
Since the court sentences, Mr. Rajoy and others from his party have acknowledged that the ruling was damaging, but also insisted that it didn’t imply fraud was committed by Spain’s current administration or the party as a whole.
“The sentence has nothing to do with corruption,” Rafael Catalá, Spain’s justice minister, said at a conference this week. “It has more to do with the benefits that some want to gain from this moment, and the aim that some have to provoke political changes in our country without going through the ballot boxes.”