Incumbent prime minister, Mariano Rajoy declined an invitation from the King of Spain to form a government.

Although Rajoy’s center-right “People’s Party” received the most votes in the last election, Rajoy could not foster a majority, even in a coalition.

The next chance to form a government goes to socialist Pedro Sánchez, head of PSOE.

The Wall Street Journal has additional details in King of Spain Asks Socialist Party Leader to Form Government.

Spain’s king asked the Socialist leader to try forming a government, but the push to break the impasse from December’s inconclusive election faces obstacles inside the party as well as outside.

Mr. Rajoy, whose conservative Popular Party won the most seats in parliament but lost its majority, had declined an invitation from the king to try to form a government, saying he lacked sufficient support from other parties.

Mr. Sánchez accepted the charge, pledging to create “progressive” government that would focus on unemployment, economic inequality, corruption and the secessionist movement in the wealthy Catalonia region. Socialist party officials said negotiations could take up to a month.

Mr. Sánchez insisted he wouldn’t seek to be prime minister “at any cost” and would spurn any agreement that might open the door to Catalan secession. He surprised the meeting with a plan to allow rank-and-file members to vote on any electoral alliance.

After his meeting with the king, Mr. Sanchez said he had been the target of “rudeness and arrogance” from Mr. Iglesias, but was willing to work with him in the interest of ending four years of conservative rule. Mr. Sánchez said the ball was in Mr. Iglesias’s court.

Mr. Rajoy lashed out at Mr. Sánchez for refusing to discuss a coalition government of the Popular Party, the Socialists and the centrist Ciudadanos party.

Mr. Sánchez later attacked Mr. Rajoy for shirking the challenge of forming a government. “The Popular Party has renounced the job for which seven million Spaniards had given it its vote,” he said. Mr. Rajoy said he still held out hope for heading the next government.

Bitterness and Acrimony

As you can clearly see, bitterness and acrimony has set in.

I fail to see the alleged “rudeness and arrogance” from Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias.

Actually, Iglesias reached out to Sanchez, offering him the right to be prime minister in a coalition. Reader Bran who lives in Spain commented “Sanchez’s first reaction was a cautious welcome, saying ‘Voters would not understand if I and Podemos did not understand each other’.”

That offer turned into “rudeness and arrogance” when the former head of PSOE blasted the deal.

I wrote about this on Saturday in Rajoy Says Leftist Parties Causing “Terror in Europe” as Spanish Government About to Fall

Where We Stand

This could be Sanchez’s best chance to lead because a new poll shows Podemos would gain mightily at the expense of PSOE in a new election.

Spain New Election2

The above chart from El Economista, with translations and vote totals by Mish.

Podemos Poised to Surge

Were those projections to hold, Podemos plus PSOE would be very close to an outright majority. Although PP would pick up seats, a PP coalition with the Citizen’s Party would fall further behind than now.

Iglesias offered to take a second in command position to Sánchez, but if new elections are held, which is increasingly likely, Iglesias may insist on the top spot. Either way, coalition problems remain.

Problems Facing Leftist Coalition

  1. PSOE insists Catalonia stay united with Spain
  2. Podemos is open to Catalan elections
  3. The third group of fringe parties needed to form a coalition demand Catalonia independence

Point number 3  may drop off in new elections.  Yet, huge problems face any leader even if a coalition can come up with the required 176 seats.

Whoever wants to lead has some big fences to mend.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock