Spain king tasks Sanchez with forming govt

MADRID: Spain´s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez vowed on Tuesday to be “generous” with Catalan separatists whose support he needs to remain in power after King Felipe VI tasked him with forming the next government.

Sanchez´s Socialists came second in an inconclusive general election in July, in which the right-wing Popular Party (PP) won the most votes. If Sanchez is to be reinstated as premier, he will need to pass a key parliamentary vote for which he will need the backing of a hardline Catalan separatist party cast in the role of kingmaker.

The king turned to Sanchez after PP leader Alberto Nunez-Feijoo failed in his own bid to win parliamentary support to be inaugurated as prime minister last week, having only managed to win support from the far-right Vox.

Sanchez, who has governed Spain since he led a successful no-confidence vote against former PP prime minister Mariano Rajoy in 2018, said he accepted the king´s offer and would start talks with the different parliamentary groups on Wednesday.

“I will meet with all the different parliamentary parties except the far-right Vox, obviously,” he told a news conference. Sanchez will now have to seek support from at least 176 lawmakers within the 350-seat parliament in the vote which must take place before November 27.

If he fails, Spain will automatically be forced to hold new elections, most likely in mid-January. – Barcelona protest planned – Sanchez has proved to be a tenacious political survivor and is confident he will be returned to power with the backing of the hard-left Sumar along with Basque and Catalan regional parties.

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