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News

Spanish Socialists fail second leadership bid

Spain's Socialist party has been unable to survive a second confidence vote and form a governing coalition. This leaves Madrid in a precarious state of limbo.

The Socialists failed for the second time to form a government in Spain on Friday after a bid by leader Pedro Sanchez was voted down in Madrid. Sanchez had hoped to form a coalition with the center-right party Ciudadanos, but was defeated by 131 votes in favor to 219 against.

Spain has been in political limbo since inconclusive elections in December left the country's four largest parties without enough seats to form a majority coalition. Parliament now has until May 2 to hammer out a power-sharing deal or new elections will be called for June.

Sanchez already

lost one attempt to become prime minister

on Wednesday, failing to get the 176 votes necessary to take power. This makes it the first time since the fall of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, which ended in 1975, that a candidate lost both bids to lead the country.

In the interim, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who led the country from 2011 to 2015, will continue on as acting premier until a deal is reached or new elections are held. His conservative People's Party (PP), came away with the most votes in December but far from enough to claim a majority. The Socialists came in second, but the PP and the far-left Podemos party have dug in their heels against Sanchez and refused to grant him approval to form a government.

Podemos and Ciudadanos, both relative newcomers to the national stage, saw their numbers increase rapidly in the months leading up the elections as frustration with the country's 21 percent unemployment rate has led to widespread disillusionment with establishment parties, which have also been mired in their share of corruption scandals.

es/sms (AP, AFP)

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