Madrid, Oct 3 (EFE).- Spain’s King Felipe VI on Tuesday nominated Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez as a candidate for prime minister.
Sánchez’s nomination comes after Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the leader of the conservative People’s Party (PP) which narrowly won the most votes in July’s snap general election, failed to garner enough support in parliament to form a government.
Sánchez, the current interim prime minister, will now begin the formal process of negotiating with potential junior coalition partners.
At a press conference at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Sánchez said he would open talks with the leader of the left-wing Sumar party, second deputy prime minister and acting labor minister Yolanda Diaz, on Wednesday.
To form a government, the leader of PSOE, which came second in July’s poll, will need the support of regional and separatist parties, some of whom want independence from Madrid, including the hardline Catalan separatist group Junts per Catalunya.
Junts leader Carles Puigdemont, who lives in exile in Brussels, has said he will only consider backing Sánchez if charges against him and other leaders of the Catalan independence movement are lifted.
The potential amnesty for the Catalan leaders who held an unsanctioned independence referendum in 2017 has generated widespread controversy in Spain.
Sánchez on Tuesday called for “generosity”, “commitment”, “leadership” and “policy” to solve the Catalonia issue and break the political deadlock in the country, while dismissing the possibility of a self-determination referendum in Catalonia.
The interim PM also defended the “difficult” decision he took over the summer when he pardoned nine separatist leaders who were convicted for declaring Catalonia’s independence in 2017, insisting that “it was right” and was taken for the sake of the country’s best interests.
Sánchez said he was confident in securing a coalition agreement to “consolidate and expand” the progress of the previous legislature and to continue working towards “harmony” in Catalonia together with his coalition partner, Sumar.
He also urged the nation to overcome “past differences” and said he believes a majority in Spain wants a progressive government.
“I appeal to the responsibility of all political forces to translate that social majority into a government of progress and coexistence,” he said.EFE