Spanish parties talks underway to end impasse, form government
Spain's leftist PSOE party and right-wing PP are forced to seek the backing of minor parties to fill in the remaining seats.
Spain's conservative Popular Party (PP) launched negotiations with other parties in an attempt to receive their support to form a new government, while the incumbent Socialist (PSOE) party has stated that it wants to avoid a new election after Sunday's election results, Reuters reported.
PP leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo declared an "indisputable" win, despite Spain's right-wing failing to secure a 176-seat needed majority in the parliament to form a government.
Together, right-wing parties PP and Vox garnered 169 out of the 350-seat lower house and are forced to seek the backing of minor parties to fill in the remaining seats.
"I have initiated the talks taking into account that Spaniards have decided not to give anyone an absolute majority," Feijoo indicated, stressing that "we will not be held hostage by anyone."
On the other hand, left-wing parties PSOE and Sumar garnered 153 seats. Incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is anticipated to seek the help of minor Basque and Catalan groups seeking independence, as he did after the 2019 election.
This includes the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), a left-wing Catalan party that holds seven seats, in addition to Junts, which has not supported him in the last four years and also won seven seats in Sunday's election.
Although the PP will be given the first go at assembling enough votes in Parliament to form a government, an agreement with the presence of Vox and its uncompromising position on independence-seeking will make gaining support from any other faction arduous.
With one seat, the People's Union of Navarre (UPN) is the only other center-right party set to back Feijoo's campaign for prime minister, leaving him six votes short of a majority.
But the regionalist Canary Coalition, which has one MP and governs with the PP in the Canary Islands, has explicitly condemned Vox's rhetoric, and the remaining parties have made it clear that they would oppose any alliance that includes the far right.
On the other side, former Catalan regional government president Carles Puigdemont, currently in Belgium since leading a failed attempt to secede Catalonia from Spain in 2017, might decide Sanchez's prospects of success.
If after talks, Sanchez can gain five seats from the Basque Nationalist Party, six from Bildu, and seven from the ERC, an abstention from Junts will be enough for his PSOE-Sumar coalition to win a majority.
Jordi Turull, Secretary-General of the Junts, pointed out on Monday that the election deadlock would open a "window of opportunity" for Catalan independence.
Puigdemont, who still retains substantial power within Junts, declared in mid-July that the party will not back Sanchez. He tweeted early Monday that Junts is a party that sticks to its promises.
According to a PSOE source, the party is optimistic about achieving an agreement, although discussions will take time.
"We are sure about that, and that there will be no repetition (of the election)," the source said, as cited by Reuters.
It is noteworthy that if neither side can gain enough legislative support to form a government, a second election around Christmas is likely.