Spain set for fourth general election in four years on November 10

President-elect Pedro Sánchez fails to form new government after 5-month deadlock

Spain's acting president Pedro Sánchez shakes hands with king Felipe VI (by EFE)
Spain's acting president Pedro Sánchez shakes hands with king Felipe VI (by EFE) / ACN

ACN | Madrid

September 17, 2019 09:27 PM

Spain braces itself for even greater political instability. President Pedro Sánchez has announced a new general election on November 10 — the fourth in four years — after failing to garner enough parliamentary support to renew his government.

"There’s no parliamentary majority in the Spanish Congress that allows for the formation of a new government," Sánchez said at a press conference on Tuesday night, blaming other parties for not backing his presidential bid. "I tried to do it, but they made it impossible." 

Sánchez’s criticism was aimed both to his left, at Unidas Podemos, and to his right, at the People’s Party and Ciutadans: "For the Spanish government to not depend on [Catalan and Basque] pro-independence parties, their abstention was needed." 

Everything seemed set for another Socialist-led executive when Sánchez won a snap general election last April, with the only doubt being whether anti-austerity Unidas Podemos would enter the government or if it would rather offer its support without demanding government posts. After months of negotiations, both parties failed to translate the left-wing parliamentary majority into a left-wing government.

For months, the Socialists and Unidas Podemos accused each other of failing to seek compromises while publicly assuring their commitment to coming to an agreement preventing another trip to the polls. 

Other parties joined the discussion at the last minute, with Ciutadans leader Albert Rivera offering to abstain if Sánchez promised he would not use his presidential powers to pardon the jailed Catalan independence leaders.

The uncertainty ended  on Tuesday evening when Spain’s king confirmed that he would not put forth Sánchez as a presidential candidate — a formality required in order to be appointed head of government by lawmakers in Congress.