Spain's Socialists face uphill task to form government

AP News
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Posted: Mar 01, 2016 8:46 AM

MADRID (AP) — Spain's Socialist party leader is hoping to persuade a majority of parliamentary deputies to back his bid to form a new government, but the lack of support from other parties suggests he won't be successful.

Pedro Sanchez's presentation speech Tuesday will be followed by debate and a vote Wednesday in which he will need a majority in the 350-seat parliament to succeed.

But the Socialists, who won 90 seats in the Dec. 20 inconclusive election, have only the support of centrist newcomer Ciudadanos, which has 40. Both the conservative Popular Party, with 123 seats, and far-left newcomer Podemos, with 69, have said they will vote against him.

Sanchez has another chance Friday in a vote in which he only needs more votes in favor than against. But unless several parties switch tactics and support him, or at least abstain, he doesn't look likely to win that one either.

If he fails in both votes, parliament will have two months to choose a government or face a new election on June 26.

The ruling Popular Party came first in the Dec. 20 election but its leader, acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, refused to try to form a government, saying he lacked sufficient support.

The election, with the emergence of Podemos and Ciudadanos, led to Spain's most fragmented parliament in decades and shattered the dominance of the Popular Party and the Socialists.

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This story has corrected the grammar in the headline to face, not faces.