Spain’s King Felipe VI on Tuesday instructed the current acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez with trying to form a government, and thereby seek to also be formally reinstated in the role following the inconclusive election held on 23 July.
If Sánchez is to be reinstated as prime minister, he will need to pass a key parliamentary vote for which he will need the backing of the pro-independence Catalan parties, the Esquerra Republicana (ERC) and Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) – and specifically the latter, which has been cast in the role of kingmaker.
The move comes just four days after right-wing opposition leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo failed in his own bid to win parliamentary support to be inaugurated as prime minister. ALSO READ: After Feijóo fails in his bid to become Spain’s prime minister, what happens next?
After talks with Spain’s political parties, the king has ‘informed me of his decision to put forward Pedro Sánchez as the candidate for prime minister’, said parliamentary speaker Francina Armengol. A date for the investiture debate and vote will be decided once Armengol has conferred with Sánchez.
Sánchez will now have to try his hand at winning support from 176 MPs within the 350-seat parliament in a key vote which must take place before 27 November. If he fails, Spain will automatically be forced to hold new elections, most likely in mid-January.
Sánchez said he accepted the king’s offer and would start talks with the different parliamentary groups on Wednesday.
‘I will meet with all the different parliamentary parties except the far-right Vox, obviously,’ he said.
‘I will work to form a progressive coalition government comprising the Socialist Party (PSOE) and Sumar [the grouping of left-wing parties led by Yolanda Díaz] as soon as possible, with enough support to guarantee the stability Spain needs to continue promoting progressive policies and coexistence,’ he said.
At the moment, Sánchez can count on the support of the 121 MPs in his own PSOE party, the 31 MPs of Sumar – despite Díaz saying on Monday that they are still ‘far from an agreement’ – and the six MPs of Basque pro-independence party EH Bildu.
In addition to looking for the backing of the Catalan pro-independence parties ERC and JxCat (both with seven seats each), as well as the Basque Nationalist Party’s (EAJ-PNV) five MPs, Sánchez will also be seeking the support of the sole representative from the Galician Nationalist party, BNG. This would make a total of 178 MPs in the 350-seat chamber.
The single MP from the the Coalición Canaria party could also potentially back Sánchez, despite voting for the PP leader Feijóo in his failed bid to become prime minister last week. ALSO READ: The PP’s Alberto Núñez Feijóo loses first parliamentary vote to become PM.
Sánchez avoided talking about the Catalan demands of ‘amnesty’ on Tuesday, but instead spoke of ‘generosity’ and solutions to ‘overcome discord’ in Catalonia. However, he has also reiterated his stance that an independence referendum is incompatible with the Spanish Constitution. ALSO READ: Puigdemont demands ‘amnesty’ for all independence activists as ‘precondition’ for Sánchez’s investiture.
Acepto, con ilusión y responsabilidad, el encargo de SM el Rey como candidato a ser investido presidente del Gobierno.— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) October 3, 2023
Trabajaré para formar lo antes posible un Gobierno de coalición entre @PSOE y @sumar con suficientes apoyos parlamentarios para dar estabilidad al país y… pic.twitter.com/rsglAZosDw