Conservative and liberal Spanish lawmakers have rejected an attempt by the Socialists to form a coalition government. The news comes as Spain struggles to solve months-long political deadlock.
The conservative Popular Party (PP) and far-left Podemos on Wednesday both rejected Socialist leader Pedro Sanchez's candidacy to form a coalition government.
"This is a fictitious, unreal candidature," Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the leader of PP, told members of parliament.
Pablo Iglesias, leader of Podemos, said his party rejected Sanchez because they didn't believe the Socialists would embrace a truly leftist political agenda.
Together, PP and Podemos control 192 of the 350 seats in Spain's parliament. In order to be elected prime minister, Sanchez would need an absolute majority worth 176 votes.
The Socialists came in second in December's inconclusive elections and have been trying to form a coalition government. Last week, the party's attempts to unify with two smaller upstart parties - Podemos and the centrist Ciudadanos - hit a wall when Podemos backed out of coalition talks, saying it couldn't work alongside Ciudadanos.
Rajoy's Popular Party won the most seats in December but not enough to claim an absolute majority. Spain has been mired in political deadlock ever since.
blc/sms (AP, Reuters)