On 10th November, Spanish voters will once again head off to the polls after the acting president, Pedro Sánchez, failed to form a viable government.
The general election in April led to Sánchez’s PSOE becoming the most-voted party, although they fell far short of winning enough seats to rule with a majority. Accordingly, the Socialists had the option to pact with the radical left UP formation or the centre-right Ciudadanos.
“It has been impossible to fulfil the mandate given to us by the Spanish people on 28th April,” said Sánchez. “There is no majority in congress that guarantees the formation of a government, which pushes us to a repeat election on 10th November.”
However, Sánchez has been criticised for his insistence on ruling with a single-party government. His flat refusal to grant a cabinet position to any members of Unidas Podemos, whose 42 seats were vital for any left-wing pact to succeed, has been the main reason for the breakdown of negotiations.
“He wants to be Prime Minister in exchange for nothing,” said Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias about Sánchez, “I’m not sure that’s reasonable.”
Several commentators suspect that Sánchez wishes to roll the dice once again in the hope of winning an even stronger position after the November election. It’s a theory that makes sense when you consider that Sánchez has a knack of taking risks and winning, but current polls indicate that little is likely to change after a November election.
Voting predictions show that the Socialists may only improve their vote slightly, while their bitter rivals, the PP, are likely to strengthen their vote at the expense of Ciudadanos. Unless something drastic changes between now and 10th November, another hung parliament appears to be the only realistic outcome, and Sánchez will once again find himself trying to thrash out a viable government.