King asks Socialist Party leader to form government


King Felipe VI had asked the centre-left Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party leader, Pedro Sánchez, to form a new government. The move comes after incumbent Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the centre-right People’s Party had failed to find enough support to form a coalition government.

In the 20th December 2015 general election the PP was the largest party with 123 seats but well short of the 176 seats needed for a majority in the 350 seat Congress of Deputies. The PSOE came second with 90 seats and the left-wing Podemos (We Can) won 60 seats.

Podemos is likely to strike a hard bargain with the PSOE but is a necessary component to form a coalition of the left. The PSOE will also need another newcomer, the centrist Ciudadanos (Citizens – C) which won 40 seats, but that seems unlikely because of the conflict between Podemos and Ciudadanos. The alternative is to cobble together a coalition with the smaller parties which would lead to a highly unstable coalition considering the conflicting interests of those parties, including Catalan and Basque separatists.

Sánchez has indicated that he will need at least a month to form a government. A fresh general election looms if he fails.

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