Failure to form a coalition government following two inclusive elections could send Spanish voters to the polls for a third time since December.
The leaders of Spain’s right-wing People’s Party and leftist Socialist Workers’ Party have met to discuss the possibility of the formation of a coalition government, although with no agreement reached, there appears to be no end in sight for the country’s political stalemate.
Conservative acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy – who received the lion’s share of the votes in the country’s most recent election in June – has twice failed to reach an overall majority, but said that Pedro Sanchez’ Socialist party (PSOE) opposition to his coalition proposals is prolonging the deadlock.
— Reuters UK (@ReutersUK) August 2, 2016
No end in sight
Speaking at a news conference Rajoy told reporters that the main item on his agenda is to form a government.
“We are not here to debate”, he said, “It’s imperative that no one blocks the possibility of forming a government and with his “no”, [Sanchez] maintains the deadlock and forces us towards another election.
El Sr. Sánchez no se ha mostrado receptivo a mis planteamientos. Su posición actual es la antesala de la repetición de elecciones
— Mariano Rajoy Brey (@marianorajoy) August 2, 2016
Mr. Sanchez has not proved receptive to my ideas. Your current position is prelude to another election – Mariano Rajoy
Meanwhile, Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez has said that his left-wing party is not obligated to agree with the demands of the right.
He said: “If no one agrees with Rajoy, that’s his problem and his responsibility… I say to him and the right-wing parties that it is up to them to reach an agreement, but the leftists will not support them.”
El PSOE no va a estar en ninguna gran coalición. Somos la alternativa al PP y no vamos a apoyar aquello que queremos cambiar.
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) August 2, 2016
The PSOE will not be in any grand coalition. We are the alternative to the People’s Party and won’t support what you want to change – Pedro Sanchez
Third election on the horizon
Although Rajoy’s People’s Party won the most vote in the election in June, he remained short of the illusive overall majority and was left having to appeal to other parties in order to form a coalition government.
The country has been in the midst of a political purgatory since the first inconclusive election in December 2015 and a third election will have to be organised if a government cannot be formed.
Rajoy currently has 137 seats in the Spanish Congress, but needs 176 in order to have a majority.
If negotiations result in agreement and a coalition government is formed, it must pass a vote of confidence in congress before it comes into power, however Pedro Sanchez has said that his party will vote against any coalition formed by Rajoy.