Madrid / Spain’s King Felipe VI on Thursday slated a new round of consultations with the leaders of the country’s political parties in the coming week in a bid to break the current impasse in forming a government amid the looming prospect that voters may have to head back to the polls for the fourth time in as many years.
If the next round of consultations on 16-17 September are inconclusive, then general elections will be penciled in for 10 November.
The Royal Household made the announcement after the king met with Meritxell Batet, the current president of Spain’s lower chamber of Parliament, the Congress of Deputies.
A statement from the royal household said the discussions aim to confirm whether the king “can propose a candidate for prime minister who can rely on the necessary support of the Congress of Deputies, in which case he will give his confidence.”
It added that if there was no clear candidate, the king would dissolve both chambers of Parliament and call new elections.
The latest political deadlock in Spain began in the wake of snap elections on 28 April 2019.
The country’s acting prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, called that ballot after right-wing parties and Catalan separatists decided to block his 2019 Budget.
Sánchez’s Socialist Party (PSOE) won the vote, taking 123 seats in the 350-seat chamber, up from 85, but failed to take a working majority, meaning it would have to enter into coalition talks or urge lawmakers to vote in a minority government.
PSOE engaged in discussions with the left-wing Unidas Podemos (“United We Can”), which has 42 seats in the chamber, but negotiations soon stalled.
As part of a coalition deal, Podemos wanted control of several ministries, which PSOE opposed.
PSOE later called on lawmakers to invest Sánchez as head of a minority government, which Podemos opposed.
Currently, the opposition, the Popular Party, a bastion of Spanish conservatism, Ciudadanos (“Citizens”), a young center-right party and Vox, a far-right outfit benefiting from voter flight from the scandal-hit PP, do not have enough seats to combine a majority. (September 12, 2019, EFE/Practica Español)
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