Any hope of Rajoy securing a coalition or even a minority government via abstention flew out the window today.

Rajoy had secured the backing of Ciudadanos on the premise Rajoy would clean up corruption.

But moments after the last coalition vote, which failed, Rajoy’s economy minister attempted to appoint a corrupt and disgraced colleague to a lucrative position at the World Bank.

Accusations have been ongoing ever since, and today things blew up in Spanish parliament in a very heated debate.

Please consider Spanish Economy Minister Under Fire Over Cronyism.

Luis de Guindos, Spain’s economy minister, faced criticism in parliament on Tuesday over a contentious decision — since withdrawn — to appoint a disgraced former colleague to a lucrative position at the World Bank.

The affair has triggered a political backlash both against Mr de Guindos and against Spain’s caretaker government under Mariano Rajoy, the acting prime minister. In a tense and at times ill-tempered session of the parliament’s economic affairs committee on Tuesday evening, opposition leaders repeatedly accused Mr de Guindos of lying to the public — and urged him to withdraw.

The furore erupted this month, when the government announced that it had nominated José Manuel Soria to serve as Spain’s new executive director at the World Bank. The move came just six months after Mr Soria — a close ally of both Mr Rajoy and Mr de Guindos — resigned as industry minister over the Panama Papers tax haven leak. He was named in the documents as the director of a Panama-based shell company, prompting a denial from Mr Soria that turned out to be false only days later.

His appointment to the World Bank job sparked immediate accusations of cronyism, triggering a political row that forced Mr Soria’s resignation from the post just four days after the announcement was made on September 2. Public suspicions over the decision were heightened because the announcement was slipped out on a Friday night, just minutes after Mr Rajoy failed in his second attempt to secure parliamentary approval for a second term in office. The revelation met with particular fury among leaders of the centrist Ciudadanos party, which had supported Mr Rajoy’s candidacy but only after extracting a promise from him to boost political transparency and step up the fight against corruption.

Third Election Coming Up

With that bit of extreme foolishness, Rajoy all but guaranteed a third election. The only possible way out would be for Rajoy to step down. That’s not likely, and it may not even be enough after this fiasco.

Moreover, this incident is going to hurt Rajoy’s chances very badly in the next election. Rajoy’s days are likely numbered.

Expect a new election in December, possibly earlier if all the political parties give up their attempt to form a government. The other parties may as well give up their chance, as no coalition government at all is possible at this stage.

Besides, from the opposition point of view, it’s better to hold elections as soon as possible after this mess Rajoy’s party created.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock