Tue | Sep 19, 2017

Spain's socialists face uphill task to form government

Published:Wednesday | March 2, 2016 | 3:00 AM
Spain's Socialist Party leader Pedro Sanchez, left, shakes hands for the media with Ciudadanos Party president Albert Rivera before their meeting at the Spanish parliament in Madrid, Spain, recently.

MADRID (AP):

Spain's Socialist party leader Pedro Sanchez is hoping to persuade a majority of parliamentary deputies to back his bid to form a new government, but the lack of support from other parties suggests he won't be successful.

Sanchez's presentation speech yesterday, is followed by debate and a vote today, in which he will need a majority in the 350-seat parliament to succeed.

But the Socialists, who won 90 seats in the December 20 inconclusive election, have only the support of centrist newcomer Ciudadanos, which has 40. Both the conservative Popular Party, with 123, and far-left newcomer Podemos, with 69, have said they will vote against him.

Sanchez has another chance Friday in a vote in which he only needs more votes in favour than against. But unless several parties switch tactics and support him, or at least abstain, he doesn't look likely to win that one either.

If he fails in both votes, parliament will have two months to choose a government or face fresh elections on June 26.

The ruling Popular Party came first in the December election but its leader, acting prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, refused to try to form a government, saying he lacked sufficient support.