Acting PM Rajoy talks of new Spanish election date

Madrid, Feb 19 (IANS) Acting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told British Prime Minister David Cameron that he expects Spain to hold a new general election on June 26.

“We have an investiture ceremony in March and I believe it will not work out,” Xinhua quoted Rajoy as telling Cameron on camera during Thursday’s meeting of EU leaders in Brussels, apparently unaware he was being filmed.

His comments came as the leader of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) Pedro Sanchez remained in talks with leaders of other parties in attempts to form a coalition government.

Sanchez responded saying it was “lamentable” that while he was working to form a government, “others are speaking about new elections”.

The Socialist leader will present his project at an investiture debate on March 2 with a vote likely to be taken in the 350-seat Congress on March 3.

According to Spanish law, if Sanchez is unable to win an overall majority of 176 votes on March 3, he would be named prime minister if he is able to present a simple majority two days later on March 5. But if he fails, another leader would then try and form a government.

If nobody is able to win the support of Congress by May 3, Congress would be dissolved and a new general election would be called.

Sanchez needs to win the support of at least one of the centre-right parties: Citizens, or the left-wing Podemos. But he has struggled given the mutual antipathy of these two groups.

Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias has said it would be impossible for his party to form a government including Citizens, while Citizens are strongly opposed to Podemos’ demands for a referendum over the issue of the independence of the Catalan region.

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