Spain's caretaker PM Pedro Sanchez says talks on forming a government with the support of the far-left Podemos party have failed. Sanchez' Socialists reject a formal coalition with the party, but need its votes.
Spain's caretaker prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, on Monday accused the far-left Podemos (We Can) party of breaking off negotiations on forming a new government, just over a week before he is to face a confidence vote in Parliament.
Sanchez accused Podemos' leader Pablo Iglesias of "unilaterally" ending the talks.
"Mr Iglesias completely closed the door to any type of negotiation, in a unilateral rupture of the talks," the head of PSOE, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, confirmed.
Sanchez is seeking support from Podemos and other regional parties for a minority government after he and his Socialists won April elections but failed to gain the absolute parliamentary majority necessary to govern alone.
The Socialists have ruled out a formal coalition with Podemos, but Sanchez last week said he was ready to give some ministerial posts to people deemed as acceptable by the far-left party. The proposal has been rejected by Iglesias when he said the notion was "idiotic," with Podemos making its support conditional on some of its actual leaders being included in the Cabinet.
Confidence votes in the balance
In an interview on SER radio on Monday, Sanchez called on two major rightist parties to abstain in the confidence vote next Tuesday to allow him to win and lead a minority government. If he fails to gain an absolute majority of 176 voters in the 350-seat lower house, another vote will be held two days later where he needs only a simple majority.
If no new government can be formed, new elections would probably be held in the autumn. If called, they would be the fourth in four years in Spain.
Sanchez, 47, came to power in June 2018 after a no-confidence motion filed by the Socialists against the then conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was passed, partly with the support of Podemos.
Nevertheless, Monday's declaration that talks were dead was refuted by a top Podemos official.
"We were surprised to hear that the prime minister said that negotiations had collapsed. For our part, this is not the case," Pablo Echenique told laSexta TV.
tj, jsi/ng (AP, AFP, Reuters)