Sánchez rejects conservative leader’s request for support to become Spain’s next PM

Madrid, Aug 30 (EFE).- Spain’s acting prime minister Pedro Sánchez on Wednesday rejected a request by Alberto Feijóo, leader of the conservative People’s Party, to support him in his bid to become PM.

King Felipe VI last week nominated Feijóo, whose PP won the most seats in a general election on July 23, to become prime minister and form a government.

While the PP won the most seats in the snap poll, the party fell short of a majority. Feijóo is now seeking to garner enough support to pass a parliamentary vote to approve his premiership bid.

No agreement was reached during Wednesday’s nearly hour-long meeting between the political opponents, who had bitter clashes during the election campaign.

To avoid “an undesirable political deadlock,” Feijóo asked Sánchez to back him to become prime minister for a two-year term – Spanish legislatures normally last four years – to be able to tackle up to six policy pacts before calling general elections.

In a press conference following their meeting at the Congress of Deputies in Madrid, Feijóo, said Sánchez prefers “agreements with the pro-independence movement”, in reference to discussions between the Socialist Party (PSOE) and Basque and Catalan separatist parties.

“I have found that (Sánchez) wants to remain at the helm of the government despite having lost the election,” Feijóo said. “He prefers to negotiate amnesties, referendums and parliamentary groups that don’t follow the rules of parliament.”

While Sánchez did not speak to the press following his meeting with Feijóo, PSOE spokesperson, Pilar Alegría, slammed the PP leader’s “failed” premiership bid.

“We have gone from (the PP) wanting to repeal Sanchismo, to advocating for Sanchismo,” Alegría said.

At the moment, the PP has 137 deputies, the 33 seats of the far-right Vox and two more from two regionalist parties, for a total of 172 – four short of the 176 required for a majority.

But some 178 deputies have not backed the PP, meaning the party would not have enough support to pass a first vote in parliament – which would require an absolute majority – or a second vote, in which a simple majority – more yeses than noes – would be sufficient.

While Feijóo still has nearly a month to negotiate with other parties before the parliamentary debate and vote are held Sept. 26 and 27, they have refused to back the PP, largely because the conservatives have aligned themselves with the far-right Vox.

If Feijóo is not elected, the King would nominate Sánchez, as the runner up in July’s election, to form a government.

While the PSOE won fewer seats (121) than the PP, Sánchez is confident of convincing enough parties to support his bid and defeat the conservatives.

If that also fails, new general elections would be called. EFE


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