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New left-wing party in Spain hopes to unite leftist bloc after failure to form government

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New left-wing party in Spain hopes to unite leftist bloc after failure to form government
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REUTERS/Sergio Perez
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A Spanish left-wing politician on Wednesday announced the creation of a new party that will run in the November 10 parliamentary election — a move that could add more uncertainty to the country’s fourth national ballot in four years.

The country has been struggling form a government together since several new parties, including Podemos, Ciudadanos and the far-right Vox, appeared on the political scene five years ago.

Read More: Elections in Spain: What could influence the November elections to break the political impasse?

Spain has been in political limbo since the social-democratic PSOE emerged as the biggest party in April's parliamentary election but without enough seats to govern on their own and ended up calling a new election after failing to strike a deal with the far-left Unidas Podemos.

Co-founder of Podemos, Inigo Errejon, who left the party in January after disagreements with leader Pablo Iglesias, announced he would be launching a new party named Mas Pais (More Country) in order to help form a government and encourage disillusioned left-wing voters to turn out at polling stations.

"I understand the widespread anger of the Spanish people with the current leaders and with the political stalemate," he said.

But there are fears that Errejon’s new political party could fragment the left vote even more and either help the right win a majority or prevent any bloc from doing so.

There will now be three main parties on the left and the right after far-right Vox made a breakthrough in the April election.

"This makes it even more difficult to foresee how the new parliament will look, and what type of feasible majorities will emerge," Jose Fernandez-Albertos, a political scientist at Spanish National Research Council CSICm told Reuters.

Errejon is considered more moderate than Iglesias and was second in command in Podemos. In 2016, he backed an agreement with the socialists, which Iglesias rejected. Errejon previously said he would accept a government deal with Sanchez.

In his first speech as a candidate, the 35-year-old politician said he was hoping to achieve an agreement among left-wing parties to form a government.

He said his objective was "to make the progressive block in Spain bigger, more solid, more pragmatic and more responsible."

But with Errejon and Iglesias on bad terms, a deal between them could be difficult to achieve.

However, Fernandez-Albertos believes that the new party could convince left-wing voters tired of Sanchez and Iglesias' inability to strike a deal to turn out to vote.

"The left-wing electorate is going to be motivated. Some to defend Iglesias, others to punish him," Fernandez-Albertos said.