MADRID The leader of Spain's Socialists Pedro Sanchez failed on Friday to win the confidence of parliament to become prime minister, opening a new round of talks between parties to break an over two-month deadlock after an inconclusive election.
As on Wednesday when he lost a first investiture vote, Sanchez secured the backing of only 131 representatives in the 350-strong assembly.
The Socialists, business-friendly newcomer Ciudadanos and a small party from the Canary Islands voted in favour of Sanchez while the ruling conservative People's Party, anti-austerity Podemos, the former communists Izquierda Unida and four regional parties from the Basque Country and Catalonia voted against.
New talks between political parties will now start and Spain's King Felipe may ask a new candidate to try and form a majority before May 2, when new elections would have to be called.
(Reporting by Julien Toyer and Carlos Ruano; Editing by Angus Berwick)