August 7, 2019 / 3:33 PM / 4 months ago

Spain's Sanchez will keep trying to form government until September deadline

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks during a brief news conference after his traditional summer meeting with King Felipe at Marivent Palace in Palma de Mallorca, Spain August 7, 2019. REUTERS/Enrique Calvo

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez, who twice failed to be confirmed in his job last month, said on Wednesday he would work right up to a September deadline to form a government and avoid fresh elections.

“I haven’t lost hope, I’m not throwing in the towel,” said Sanchez, whose Socialists won the most votes in an election in April but fell well short of a majority, after meeting with King Felipe in Palma de Mallorca.

Recent polls suggest that the Socialists would win a greater share of votes in a repeat election, but that Spaniards have little desire to go back to the polls and would rather politicians resolve the deadlock.

“I’m going to work on this until the last possible day, until the September 23 deadline,” added Sanchez.

Spain’s deeply fragmented parliament voted against the appointment of Sanchez, who first came to power in June last year, after talks to form a coalition government with far-left Unidas Podemos collapsed.

Sanchez is now trying to garner social and political support for a third vote and has until September to be confirmed as premier or field another candidate. Failing that, a new election would be called for Nov. 10.

On Monday, conservative People’s Party official Teodoro Garcia Egea suggested it would facilitate the creation of a new government by abstaining in another confirmation vote should the Socialists put forward a candidate other than Sanchez.

But Sanchez appeared to rule out any such move on Wednesday, saying he would still press ahead with attempts to hammer out a deal with Podemos without having a coalition government, while also calling for the centre-right to abstain.

Podemos has been dismissive of his latest proposal to have a Portuguese-style minority Socialist government and insists on having a key role in a coalition administration.

Reporting by Jose Elías Rodríguez, writing by Ashifa Kassam, editing by Andrei Khalip and Alexander Smith

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