- Spain’s political drama continues
- Focus now switches to centre-left
- A tense few days ahead
Spain’s incumbent Conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has turned down an offer by King Felipe VI to form a new government following last month’s inconclusive elections.
The unexpected announcement came shortly after Mr Rajoy met the Spanish monarch at the end of a week of talks with party leaders trying to nominate a candidate.
Fresh talks will now get underway next week.
Earlier in the day, the Socialists and anti-austerity party Podemos said they would seek a deal to form a left-wing coalition.
Rajoy’s popular party won 123 seats in the election in December.
However, they failed to clinch a majority in the 350-seat lower house of parliament.
The Socialists came second in the election with 90. They are thought to have more chances of mustering support from other groups in Parliament in forming a coalition.
Mr Rajoy said he would try to win a majority.
But most parties have said they would reject a second administration under his leadership.
What happens now?
The king is likely to ask the opposition Socialist party leader Pedro Sanchez to try and form a government.
Mr Sanchez says he is trying to form a “progressive” government with Podemos and other groups on the left.
The grouping would have a combined 161 seat.
That would still leave them short of a majority, meaning they will need backing from regional parties from the Basque Country and Catalonia to form a stable administration.
The nominated candidate must win a vote of confidence in the parliament.
If no party leader manages to win the support of Parliament within two months of the first vote, fresh national elections must be called.
What they are saying