MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez asked for a wide support to form a government on Thursday after King Felipe VI invited him to seek parliament’s approval to be sworn in as premier.
Sanchez’s Socialist party won a national election in April without securing a parliamentary majority.
Sanchez told reporters that he will meet next week with representatives of the other three largest parties - right-wing People’s Party (PP), centre-right Ciudadanos and far-left Podemos - to facilitate the formation of a government.
On Thursday, both PP and Ciudadanos ruled out supporting Sanchez, however. Podemos said it would seek to form a coalition government with the Socialists.
Sanchez would need support from a majority of lawmakers to form a government in a first-round vote. The combination of Socialists, Podemos and a few regional parties, minus Catalonia’s separatists, would leave him at least one seat short.
But parliament last week suspended four jailed separatist lawmakers being tried over their role in Catalonia’s failed independence bid in 2017. If they kept their seats unfilled, Sanchez could win without Catalan backing in a second round vote.
Reporting by Joan Faus; editing by John Stonestreet and Sonya Hepinstall