Spain appears to be heading towards repeat elections, while Spain’s interim prime minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday that he is prepared to form a government with Podemos, meeting staunch opposition within the party.
Next week, Sanchez faces a vote of confirmation in parliament. If he does not receive what amounts to a vote of confidence, Spain will go to the polls. Having failed to form a government since April 28, Sanchez has asked the centre-right to abstain while a government coalition is brokered, thereby avoiding repeat elections. Both the People’s Party and the liberal Ciudadanos have rejected the call.
Meanwhile, Podemos’ support will not suffice and is anything but certain. However, Sanchez can probably count on the abstention of the Catalan and Basque nationalist parties, which would indirectly give him a majority.
The only way to form a government appears to be a coalition with the far-left, as Ciudadanos have made clear they would only form a centre-right government.
To form an alternative centre-left government, there are two obstacles:
First, power-sharing would require Podemos taking one or more important portfolios in government. The Socialist party (PSOE) is not willing to move from support to parliament to actual power-sharing, refusing to hand over portfolios of major consequence, such as the ministry of foreign affairs, the Ministry of Interior, or the economy.
Secondly, there are fundamental policy divides, as Podemos favour granting Catalonia an independence referendum, which PSOE categorically refuses to do. In an interview with La Sexta TV channel on Thursday, Sánchez made clear that the position on Catalonia adopted by Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias makes his inclusion in a future cabinet untenable.