Sánchez accepts King’s request to form new government

Pedro Sánchez speaking to media on accepting mandate to form next government. Photo: Fernando Villar/EFE via Público
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Acting President Pedro Sánchez announced Wednesday evening that he has accepted the request made to him by Spain’s head of state, King Felipe VI, to attempt to form a new government.

Appearing before reporters shortly after Congress President Meritxell Batet announced the King’s decision to commission Sánchez with forming a government, the leader of Spain’s Socialist party said he would begin immediately to nail down support from other parties, even as crucial talks with Catalonia’s Esquerra Republicana party have been paused until at least after Christmas and possibly into the New Year.

► News Sources: Público, El País and El Diario …

Sánchez said that he would personally meet on Monday with the leaders of the conservative Partido Popular and centre-right Ciudadanos parties, an indication that he will once again seek their abstention in the upcoming congressional vote on his candidacy. Both parties have so far said they would not abstain to enable the coalition government Sánchez envisions between his PSOE party and the left-wing Unidas Podemos coalition.

He also said that the PSOE’s spokesperson in Congress, Adriana Lastra, would next week begin meeting with leaders of all the remaining parties in Congress — a total of 20, in what is the most fragmented congressional session since Spain returned to democracy four decades ago — in an effort to smooth the way toward his election.

No date for the investiture vote has yet been set, but following normal protocol once Sánchez and Lastra have met with all the party leaders a date will be formalized in consultation with Congress President Batet.

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