MADRID (AP) — Spanish Socialist party leader Pedro Sanchez said Wednesday his party won't support conservative acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's attempts to form a government, a decision that could force Spain into a third round of elections.
Speaking after meeting with Rajoy, Sanchez said, "Right now, (Rajoy's) Popular Party has no support. Right now, the Socialist party reaffirms its vote against Rajoy."
The meeting was the last of a first round of contacts by Rajoy as he searches for outside support to form a new government following a second inconclusive election last month. So far no other major party has expressed any willingness to back him.
Rajoy's Popular Party won the June 26 vote with 137 seats, but although the victory margin was noticeably wider than in the December vote the party still failed to achieve an absolute majority in the 350-seat Parliament.
Sanchez's party was second with 85 seats.
Third-place left-wing alliance Unidos Podemos, with 71 seats, also opposes Rajoy while fourth-place, business friendly Ciudadanos, with 32, says it is prepared to abstain.
Rajoy says a third election would be "madness" and that Spain needs a solid government soon. He said he will continue trying to form a government.
The parliament's newly elected deputies take their seats July 19, after which King Felipe VI will consult party leaders and likely nominate one to try to form a government.
The leader designated by the king would need the backing of a majority of deputies in a first parliamentary vote or more votes in favor than against in a second vote.
Following the December election, Rajoy renounced the opportunity to even try to form a government because he had no outside support.
Sanchez was also unable to muster enough support.