SPAIN’S King Felipe VI today proposed the Socialist Party’s Pedro Sanchez as candidate for prime minister, after the failed attempt of the Popular Party’s Alberto Nuñez Feijoo to take power at an investiture vote in Congress last week. 

The nomination came after the monarch held a fresh round of meetings with Spain’s political leaders on Monday and Tuesday, the second set of contacts he has had since the inconclusive general election held on July 23. 

The king initially chose Feijoo after those first talks on the basis that his party had won the most votes at the election, despite falling well short of a majority. The PP leader had also made it clear to the king that even with the support of far-right Vox he did not have the support of other parties to achieve an absolute majority in Congress. 

Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says he will seek parliamentary majority in Spain's Congress
Acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez. Cordon Press image

That prediction came to pass, and he lost both votes at last week’s investiture debate

Sanchez, meanwhile, who is currently caretaker prime minister, has insisted that he will have the support to be voted back into office by lawmakers, despite also having fallen well short of a majority. 

He will need the support of the new leftist bloc Sumar as well as smaller groups, including Catalan nationalists who are demanding serious concessions for their pro-independence cause in exchange for their backing. 

These include an amnesty for anyone involved in the 2017 secessionist drive in the northeastern region, a move that has been slammed by opposition parties but that has yet to be confirmed by Sanchez himself.  

The nomination by the king was announced on Tuesday afternoon by the speaker of the Congress, Francina Armengol. 

Speaking at a press conference from La Moncloa prime ministerial palace shortly afterwards, Sanchez confirmed that he has accepted the nomination and that will begin a series of talks with other parties in a bid to secure their support, with the exception of far-right Vox, Europa Press reported. 

King Felipe VI and Sumar leader Yolanda Diaz
King Felipe VI receives the President of Sumar Yolanda Diaz in audience at the Palacio de la Zarzuela. August 21, 2023. Cordon Press

On Wednesday he will meet with the leader of Sumar, caretaker deputy prime minister Yolanda Diaz, to explore the possibility of a new leftist coalition.

“I will begin to work in order to form a progressive coalition government between the Socialist Party and Sumar as soon as possible,” he said. “One that has the sufficient parliamentary support to guarantee the stability that the country needs, and to continue promoting progressive policies within the framework of the Spanish Constitution.” 

Sanchez’s previous government was a coalition of his Socialist Party and far-left Unidas Podemos. The latter party has since been absorbed into Sumar.

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