Monday

17th Feb 2020

Spain heading for yet another general election

  • Pablo Iglesias (l) with Pedro Sanchez, who runs a minority government with Iglesias' support (Photo: Podemos)

A one-month countdown began on Friday (23 August) for Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez to form a new government or face elections.

His centre-left Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) has until 23 September to do a deal with the leftist Unidas Podemos (UP) - a coalition of the Podemos and the United Left parties.

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If he does not make it then parliament is to be dissolved, with elections, the fourth ones in just four years, will be held on 10 November.

Sanchez won the highest number of seats in April elections, but fell short of an absolute majority.

He tried to agree a coalition programmer with the leader of Unidas Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, but negotiations broke down and Sanchez was forced to lead a minority government instead.

Earlier this month, Sanchez appealed for a deal because, he said "the majority of Spaniards do not want to vote again".

The King of Spain, Felipe VI, also stated that "it would be best to find a solution before going to elections".

But there is little sign of a breakthrough for now.

The Socialists, who have 123 seats in Congress, depend on the support of Unidas Podemos' 42 deputies.

But the failure of previous coalition talks "have contributed to a serious increase of distrust between the two parties," the PSOE previously said.

Earlier this week, the PSOE also rejected another coalition formula put forward by Unidas Podemos.

The leftist union asked to get the post of deputy prime minister in charge of social rights and equality and three other ministries.

Iglesias also asked Sanchez to stop with "criticisms and arrogances" and to move forward with negotiations.

"People are tired of being teased," Iglesias said.

His coalition ideas were little different to previous ones that the PSOE had already rejected, however.

Such a government would have "an impossible daily routine" and would not function properly, Spanish acting deputy PM, Carmen Calvo, has said.

If Unidas Podemos does not budge then the elections are likely to follow.

And the right-wing opposition is already getting prepared for a new showdown.

The right-wing Popular Party (PP) of Pablo Casado has called for an alliance with the centre-right Ciudadanos (Citizens) party in what Casado described as the "very likely" snap elections.

He is also eyeing up ways to poach votes from the far-right Vox party, which entered parliament for the first time in April.

Polls indicate that the PP is currently the second biggest force In Spanish politic, with 13.7 percent support.

"We do not exclude the possibility of elections because we see that those who had the best electoral result [PSOE] are not doing anything to form a government," Cuca Gamarra, the PP's deputy secretary in charge of social policy said on Thursday.

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