Spain's Socialists won't seek to form government if they lose July votes
Spain's Socialists will give up trying to install their leader Pedro Sanchez as prime minister if he fails to win two investiture votes this month, a party spokesman said on Tuesday, raising the prospect of another parliamentary election.
The Socialist Party (PSOE) won Spain's election in April but fell short of a majority and needs the support of other parties to form a government for the next four years. Mr Sanchez, who took power in June 2018, is currently acting prime minister.
PSOE's most likely ally is the far-left Unidas Podemos but its leader Pablo Iglesias and Mr Sanchez again failed on Tuesday to agree on an alliance.
Podemos wants to be part of a coalition government, which Mr Sanchez has so far ruled out.
Speaking after that meeting, Adriana Lastra, the PSOE spokeswoman in parliament, told a news conference: "There would be no change, from the investiture vote of July to one in September... There are no second chances."
On July 22-23 Mr Sanchez needs to win an absolute majority - at least 176 votes - in the 350-seat Spanish lower house of parliament to be named prime minister.
If he fails to do so, the chamber will vote again within two days and in that vote he needs only a simple majority - where more lawmakers back him than oppose him or abstain - to be able to form the next government.
If that second vote fails, Mr Sanchez may call a second investiture vote in September or he can call a new election.
In a statement, the government said it would continue trying to hammer out an agreement with Podemos, citing their cooperation over the past year to pass legislation and the need for the left to remain in power.
"No leftist voter would understand another obstruction" by Podemos, it said, referring to an episode in 2016 when Podemos sided with the conservatives to stop Mr Sanchez taking power.
"Our hand remains extended... We are not giving up on having a progressive government. We need to sit down and negotiate this cooperation agreement," the government statement said.