Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez yesterday called a snap election for November 10, Spain’s fourth in as many years, after failing to secure support from rival parties to confirm him as premier and allow him to form a government.
Sanchez acted after King Felipe VI said there were no viable candidates to lead a new government.
The king, who is the head of state, had earlier consulted all key political leaders to verify whether a deal to put together a government was still possible in a deeply fragmented parliament.
“There is no majority in (parliament) that guarantees the formation of a government, which pushes us into a repeat election on November 10,” Sanchez told an evening news conference, pinning the blame squarely on the opposition.
Spain, with the fourth largest economy in the European Union’s euro currency zone, has been in political limbo since Sanchez’s Socialists emerged as the biggest party in April’s election but failed to nail down a parliamentary majority.
In July, parliament twice rejected his confirmation bid, and this week was his last opportunity to form a government.
Opinion polls show a new election might not end the impasse, with the Socialists still unable to win enough seats in the 350-seat parliament to secure a majority on their own.
Party leaders had spent more time publicly blaming each other for the impasse than negotiating, and a flurry of last-minute calls and initiatives failed to achieve a breakthrough.
Although Spain’s economy has not suffered greatly, financial analysts say further delays in implementing reforms in areas such as labour and pensions could finally start to bite.
The centre-right Ciudadanos party had offered on Monday to help Sanchez secure parliament’s confirmation as prime minister if certain conditions were met, but Sanchez said his party was already meeting the conditions.
Ciudadanos accused him of lying in his response and said it could back him only if he complied with all their demands.
“His response...is a joke on all Spaniards. I’m asking him to rectify, to go back to constitutionality and allow to unblock Spain,” Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera wrote on Twitter.
The conservative People’s Party (PP), which was second in April’s election, said it would vote against Sanchez.
Pablo Iglesias, leader of far-left Unidas Podemos, reaffirmed after meeting the king that he would support Sanchez’s confirmation only if he agrees to a coalition government.
The Socialists had earlier ruled out a coalition government with Podemos. Iglesias said it would be “reasonable” for King Felipe to allow more time for talks but EFE news agency cited sources close to the king saying there would be no delay.
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