By Alyssa McMurtry
Oviedo, Spain (AA) – Spanish King Felipe VI opened a fresh round of talks with Spanish politicians on Monday in a last-ditch effort to avoid repeat elections.
If no government is formed within a week, Spanish law will automatically trigger fresh elections and drag Spaniards back to national polls for the fourth time since 2015.
In the last national election in April, the Socialist Party, led by Pedro Sanchez, won a minority. But they need Parliamentary backing by the far-left Unidas Podemos Party and nationalist politicians to form an official government.
If Podemos and the Socialists could come to an agreement this week, elections could be avoided, as the nationalist groups have voiced their support for a left-wing government. Yet Podemos is demanding a coalition government, even if only for a trial period. Pedro Sanchez and his Socialist Party are refusing to form a joint government.
Despite the fact that the two parties are natural allies, talks have broken down. If neither party budges enough, fresh elections will be held November 10.
Over Monday and Tuesday, Spain’s king has summoned politicians to see if there is the possibility of forming a government in the eleventh hour. He will meet with individual parties in descending order of representation, saving the talks with Sanchez for last. If he sees a possibility for agreement, King Felipe VI will call a Parliamentary session where the majority of politicians will vote on forming an official government.
A recently published survey, conducted in July by Spain’s Center for Sociological Investigations (CIS), suggest that support for Sanchez had increased by four percentage points since the last elections. Analysts and critics say that Sanchez may be betting on repeat elections to reduce the Socialists’ dependence on other political parties. Still, it seems highly unlikely that the Socialists could govern alone.
The same poll shows Podemos’ popularity dropped by around four percent since elections.
Yet the CIS poll doesn’t take into account the left’s inability to form a government causing new elections. If the Socialists and Podemos don’t come to an agreement, there is a real risk of alienating supporters and increasing voter fatigue.