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Spain’s king requests Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez to form government

This Wednesday, Spain’s king Philip VI requested Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez to start the negotiations with the other groups in the Spanish Parliament so that the first investiture debate can take place. Sánchez assured that he is “aware of the difficulties” but expressed his will to “unblock the current situation” in Spain. PSOE obtained 90 seats from the 350 in the Spanish Parliament and would therefore need the support of both alternative left ‘Podemos’ (68 seats) and anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans (40 seats) to reach the absolute majority. However, Podemos has openly expressed its support for holding a referendum in Spain, while both PSOE and Ciutadans have repeatedly rejected the possibility of holding such a poll. The Conservative People’s Party (PP), the party currently governing Spain, obtained 123 MPs in the 20th of December Spanish elections. 

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03 February 2016 10:44 AM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- The countdown to start trying to form a new government in Spain has started. This Wednesday, Spain’s king Philip VI requested Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez to start the negotiations with the other groups in the Spanish Parliament so that the first investiture debate can take place. PSOE obtained 90 seats from the 350 in the Spanish Parliament in the 20th of December Spanish elections and would therefore need the support of both alternative left ‘Podemos’ (68 seats) and anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans (40 seats) to reach the absolute majority. However, Podemos has openly expressed its support for holding a referendum in Spain, while both PSOE and Ciutadans have repeatedly rejected the possibility of holding such a poll. Sánchez assured that he is “aware of the difficulties” but expressed his will to “unblock the current situation” in Spain. 


King Philip VI made his choice after meeting with current Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy. Although the governing People’s Party (PP) obtained 123 MPs in the 20th of December Spanish elections, they lost 63 seats and therefore would also need to negotiate in order to reach the majority required.

“Our goal is politics rather than seats” stated Sánchez after accepting the king’s mandate. Although Sánchez admitted to being “aware of the difficulties” ahead, he wanted “to send a message of confidence” to the citizens and assured that he will “defend Spain’s integrity and guarantee respect for the law”. However, he also called “for dialogue” and setting the “vetoes and the differences” aside and focusing on the similarities. “I’ll extend my hand to the other parties” he said “I hope that they do the same”.

Although he assured that he will “talk to everybody” he has refused to so with the Catalan parties, the Basque nationalist Party Bildu and the PP.

Podemos and Ciutadans, his main interlocutors

Sánchez addressed alternative left Podemos and anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans, the third and fourth biggest forces in the Spanish Parliament respectively, and urged them to work together “for change”. “I ask the parties of change for understanding” he stated.

Sánchez would need the support of them both. However, Podemos and Ciutadans are unlikely to vote in the same direction. Besides their political differences in terms of economics, social measures and other fields, they are mainly separated by their positions regarding Catalonia’s push for independence. While Podemos has openly expressed its support for Catalonia’s right to decide and have called for the celebration of a binding referendum in the next term of office, Ciutadans have expressed firm opposition to both.

The role of the Catalan parties

In the event that Ciutadans doesn’t support Sánchez’s investiture, a coalition between PSOE and Podemos would be the most likely outcome, but it will still require the abstention of the Catalan parties in the Spanish Parliament in order to succeed. These are left wing pro-independence ERC and ‘Democràcia i Llibertat’ (‘Democracy and Freedom’), the coalition made up of former Catalan governing party liberal CDC and other representatives of Catalan nationalism. In this sense,Sánchez assured that he will “sit with” these groups but only “to tell them that I disagree with their pro-independence thesis and that I don’t want their support in the investiture”.

Tardà: “We are used to this kind of disdain”

ERC’s spokesman in the Spanish Parliament, Joan Tardà, stated that Sánchez “would need to be born again to admit that the Catalans have the right to decide”. He responded to Sánchez’s rejection of negotiating with the Catalan parties by saying that they are “used to this kind of disdain” but considered such declarations “childish and pathetic”. “If he thinks that with this he offends us, he is being ridiculous.”

According to Tardà, ERC will follow the roadmap established in the pro-independence declaration approved by the Parliament on the 9th of November, and therefore, won’t invest the PSOE leader. He defined Spain’s current political situation as a “vaudeville” which will “end either with an agreement amongst the parties of the Ibex [Spain’s stock market] or calling for new elections”.

‘Democràcia i Llibertat’: “This proves Rajoy’s end as Spanish Prime Minister”

‘Democràcia i Llibertat’ “is explicitly against” Sánchez’s investiture, stated the Catalan party’s spokesman in the Spanish Parliament, Francesc Homs. Although he didn’t rule it out, he said that he considers it “highly improbable” that his party will ultimately abstain in the investiture debate. Homs also wanted to highlight that the present situation “proves” the political end of Mariano Rajoy. “It is clear that he is in his last days as Spanish Prime Minister” he concluded. 

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  • Spain's King, Philip VI and PSOE's leader, Pedro Sánchez agreed to start trying to form a new government in Spain (by ACN)

  • Spain's King, Philip VI and PSOE's leader, Pedro Sánchez agreed to start trying to form a new government in Spain (by ACN)