Wednesday

19th Dec 2018

Spain set for new election in June

  • Socialist leader Sanchez addressing the parliament he hopes dominate after fresh elections (Photo: PSOE)

Spain is set for snap elections after a last push to form a government failed when King Felipe VI acknowledged on Tuesday (26 Tuesday) that none of the country’s political parties had enough support to govern.

The king had held final consultations over two days with leaders of the centre-right Popular Party, the centre-left Socialist Party, the far-left Podemos party and the business-friendly Ciudadanos party before a 2 May deadline for forming a government.

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King Felipe later issued a statement saying he would not propose another candidate to be prime minister to parliament.

Months of negotiations failed as the parties could not agree on a coalition to rule the 350-member lower house.

The polls are now likely to take place on 26 June, six months after the last election that shook up Spain’s political landscape by failing to return a clear winner.

It was the first time in Spain’s history that a coalition needed to be formed.

For decades, either the Popular Party or the Socialists have formed a majority government.

But corruption scandals, disillusionment with the ruling elite, unemployment and continued austerity cuts helped to boost support for new parties.

After the 20 December election, Podemos and Ciudadanos came in third and fourth.

Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez struck a deal with centrist newcomer Ciudadanos, but failed to enlist Podemos to form a coalition.

Sanchez refused offers to set up a grand coalition with prime minister Mariano Rajoy, whose Popular Party won the most seats in the December poll.

Rajoy has been counting on a new election to give him more seats, making the formation of a government easier.

Polls however suggest that a repeat election, the first in Spain since democracy was restored in the 1970s, is unlikely to break the stalemate, with parties expected to perform similarly to earlier results.

Polls predict that the Popular Party will take most seats again, but still not enough to form a majority government.

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