• Spain's news in English
Spanish king makes final bid to broker deal on new govt
King Felipe has a difficult job ahead. Photo: AFP

Spanish king makes final bid to broker deal on new govt

AFP · 25 Apr 2016, 15:14

Published: 25 Apr 2016 15:14 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The monarch will wrap up the talks - his third round since an inconclusive December 20th election - on Tuesday by meeting with acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who said over the weekend he was ready for new polls.   

"I am in shape and eager and willing once again to do battle," Rajoy told a party meeting on Sunday in the southern city of Cordoba.    

Parties have tried in vain to agree on a coalition government since the elections resulted in a hung parliament divided among four main groupings, none of them with enough seats to govern alone, as voters fed up with austerity, unemployment and corruption flocked to upstarts.

A new government must be in place by May 2nd, or the king must dissolve parliament and call a new election for June 26th.

That would leave Spain, the eurozone's fourth largest economy, without a fully functioning government for at least two more months.

Barring a last-minute surprise, the king is expected to call the polls after his talks with Rajoy whose conservative Popular Party (PP) came in first place in the election but lost its majority in parliament.

The election left Spain in uncharted waters as the country has never had a coalition government since it returned to democracy following the death of long-time dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.

Rajoy turned down a bid to form a government due to a lack of support from other parties who shunned the PP because of its links to corruption scandals and its harsh austerity measures.

The king then turned to the Socialists, who came in second.    

Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez struck a deal with centrist upstart Ciudadanos - but this did not give both parties enough seats to get a majority in parliament for the necessary vote of confidence.

So Sanchez tried to reach an agreement with new far-left party Podemos, whose 65 parliamentary seats would have got it through, but failed.   

Ciudadanos, which came in fourth place, rejects many of the policies proposed by Podemos as being too radically left while Podemos, which came in third, sees Ciudadanos as too right-wing.

"Now that there is no more bipartisanship or absolute majorities, no one seems to master the new rules of the game, which are none other than dialogue, negotiating and reaching agreements," the head of the Socialists' Catalan faction, Miquel Iceta, told reporters on Friday.

Stalemate set to continue

Other European nations have also endured months without a government recently after inconclusive elections.   

Belgium needed 541 days to form a government following a 2010 election, a European record.

Polls suggest fresh elections will not break the political stalemate, with the results likely to be similar to those of December with no party obtaining a majority.

The surveys show Podemos may lose votes as some of the five million people who backed the anti-austerity party last time accuse it of blocking the formation of a left-wing government that would have ousted the conservatives, in power since 2011.

Story continues below…

To prevent this from happening Podemos could forge an alliance with smaller Izquierda Unida, a communist-green party headed by telegenic 30-year-old Alberto Garzon that got 800,000 votes in December.   

The aim would be to surpass the Socialists in new elections, giving Podemos even more influence than it gained in December.   

Belen Barreiro, a sociologist who heads the MyWord polling firm, said Spain was "divided into two blocks" made up of the PP and Ciudadanos on the centre-right and the Socialists, Podemos, Izquierda Unida and a collection of smaller parties on the centre-left.

"The question is how everything will move within the two blocks," she told AFP.

Iceta said he believes it would be "even harder to reach an agreement" on a new government if there are fresh polls.

By Anna Cuenca and Daniel Silva / AFP


For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available