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Socialist Party chief resigns

The political deadlock in Spain might finally come to an end as Socialist Party leader Pedro Sanchez resigned yesterday.

Pedro Sanchez. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Pedro Sanchez. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Sanchez wanted to open a leadership race in order to elect a new party leader on 23 October, but after a 10 hours long emergency meeting in the PSOE’s headquarters on Saturday which ended with a vote, it was decided to elect a new leader. The vote was proposed by a rebel group that wanted to oust Sanchez. One minute after the election, Sanchez decided to resign.

The origin for the crisis in PSOE is that Sanchez would not allow the conservative party Partido Popular to form a minority government. After two elections over the last nine months, Spain still does not have a government.

PSOE will be under the leadership of an interim managment team until the election of a new leader takes place. Meanwhile a committee will decide whether PSOE should support the leader of the conservative party PP, Mariano Rajoy, as the country’s prime minister.

After the two elections, both the Socialists Party and the conservative Party have tried to form a majority government together with other parties without any success. Partido Popular has won the most votes during both elections, but the fractions have been too many that they managed to find enough seats among the other parties in the Congress to form a majority government.

By forcing Sanchez out of his position, the hope is to avoid a third election in Spain in one year. The rebels also wanted to avoid any potential abstentions in a confidence vote on allowing Rajoy to become Spain’s president. Time is running short to form a new government. Unless the country has a new government by the end of October, a third election will be called on 25th of December.

Spain is now run by a caretaker government with limited powers. Although there is no limit to how many elections can be arranged in Spain, the fear is that voters will be tired of running to the polls. Moreover the caretaker government does not have any budget authority, which among other things causes problems with relations with the EU.

Here you can read more about the background of Spain’s government situation: An update on Spanish politics.