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Spain's PM has two months to avoid another election after failing to form government

AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

Spain's caretaker prime minister has failed to receive parliamentary backing to form another government, setting off a two-month countdown to a possible new election.

Pedro Sanchez needed more "yes" than "no" votes from the lower house of the Spanish parliament on Thursday to stay in office.

He only received backing from the chamber's 123 Socialist members and one politician from a marginal regional party, while a preliminary count had 155 "no" votes.

Mr Sanchez had tried to entice the Unidas Podemos party into a government coalition, but the two rivals failed to agree on how to divide up Cabinet posts and other powerful positions.

Politicians now have until September 23 to break the deadlock or Spain's fourth national election in five years will be triggered.

Mr Sanchez could try again during that period.