Spain faces November election after talks fail
Spain faces a fourth general election in four years in November after talks to break the deadlock created by April’s inconclusive vote failed.
The Socialists (PSOE) of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, 47, won the most votes in April but with 123 MPs it fell short of a majority in the 350-seat congress.
The centre-right Citizens party has refused to form a pact.
Citizens or Ciudadanos made a late offer to help Sánchez to form a minority government. However, the centre-right Popular Party (PP) refused to abstain in a parliamentary vote that would have allowed a coalition government to take power.
The PSOE has vetoed a coalition with the far-left, anti-austerity Unidas Podemos.
Pablo Iglesias, the Podemos leader, said supporting the Socialists would require cabinet posts in a coalition government, which was a price Sánchez was not prepared to pay.
The 40-year-old Podemos leader tweeted: “Pedro Sánchez had a mandate to form a government. But he didn’t want to. Arrogance and disdain for the basic rules of parliamentary democracy have come before common sense.
“Pedro Sánchez commits a historical error of enormous dimensions forcing other elections because of an obsession with monopolising an absolute power that the Spaniards have not given him.”
Citizens and Podemos both emerged after the financial crisis and on the back of corruption allegations circling the two traditional parties, the Socialists and the PP.
King Felipe said he would not be putting forward a prime ministerial candidate as none was likely to win a parliamentary confidence vote.
Unless a breakthrough is made, parliament is expected to be dissolved on Monday and a general election held on November 10.
Sánchez blamed the other party leaders.
“It has been impossible to fulfil the mandate given to us by the Spanish people on April 28,” the reforming leader said. “There is no majority in congress that guarantees the formation of a government, which pushes us to a repeat election on November 10.”
The opposition parties were “choosing to block the formation of a government that the Spanish people demanded at the ballot box”, Sánchez said.
Polls suggest the Socialists would again finish first but would fail to secure a majority with Citizens expected to leak support, losing between 19 and 23 seats.
In October a verdict is expected in the trial of 12 Catalan politicians for their roles in the independence referendum in 2017 with protests expected if there are convictions.
The Catalan crisis is unresolved. Picture credit: Flickr