It’s crunch time: new gov’t or new elections for Spain?

Congress Prsident Meritxell Batet being received by King Felipe VI last Thursday. Photo: EFE via El Confidencial
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► Felipe VI finalizes talks today with party leaders over forming new gov’t
► Failure of Socialists to garner support will trigger new elections on 10th Nov

Within hours, Spanish voters will know whether today’s end of a final round of all-party consultations by Spain’s head of state, King Felipe VI, will allow acting President Pedro Sánchez of the governing Socialist party (PSOE) to form a new government or whether Spaniards will be asked to return to the voting booth on 10th November to cast ballots in another general election — the country’s fourth in as many years.

The PSOE and the rival left-wing Unidas Podemos coalition (UP) began half-hearted talks earlier this month toward reaching an agreement to enable formation of a progressive government.

But, those talks broke down almost immediately, the PSOE holding fast to its position that as the party with the most votes in last April’s general election it should govern alone with only confidence-and-supply support from UP, while the left-wing coalition’s leadership insisted it must be included in a coalition government with ministerial seats or its deputies in Congress would not support Sánchez’s candidacy to lead the next government.

Sánchez would need at least a simple majority of votes in Spain’s 350-member Congress to allow his Socialist party, which won the most votes in general elections held at end-April, to form a new government.

But, without Unidas Podemos support, or an agreed last-minute abstention by either the conservative Partido Popular (PP) or centre-right Ciudadanos party, Sánchez would fall far short of the number of votes needed — and has said that in that case he will tell Felipe VI later today that he declines to present his candidacy to Congress.

In that case, the King will inform Congressional president Meritxell Batet later today that no party has sufficient support to proceed present a candidate for a vote in Congress by the prescribed deadline on Monday.

If that deadline is not met, then Spain’s two-chamber parliament automatically will be dissolved on Tuesday the 24th of September, kicking off a 47-day period until a new general election can be held on 10th November.

A shortened campaign period of just eight days would not begin until 1st November, leaving the Socialists in charge of government in an acting capacity until a new government could be formed following the 10th November elections.

► Read More in Spanish at El Confidencial, El País and El Periódico …

► Read More in English at El País, AFP via France24 and Reuters …

► Click to read more news about Politics in Spain …

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